Small archive representing what is perhaps the only remaining trace of a fascinating, prescient, but ultimately unrealized utopian project of the counterculture.
Beginning in the early 1960s and continuing for almost ten years, partners Christenssen and Newton gathered information and raised money for "Contacts for Survival," a planned telephone-book sized decentralized directory to supporters of and participants in peace and other protest movements. As Christenssen later described the project (in practically the only lingering reference to CFS we could find anywhere): "CONTACTS FOR SURVIVAL was planned in 1962 as a classified biographical directory with the particular aim of connecting the live wires who could best help to solve world problems. In spite of publicity contained in thousands of circulars and numerous newspaper articles, and approaches to a great many publishers and foundations, it proved impossible to finance this directory. It seemed as if Contacts for Survival was one of those ideas whose time had not yet come." He continued, while "[o]ther directories [...] all direct people to the inevitable organization man" (ibid), CFS in contrast was aimed at connecting like-minded individuals for self-directed collective action. This peer-to-peer approach was both idealistic and forward-thinking, not unlike in many ways our own current social media. But also like our current social media, the realities of such an endeavor clashed with the project's dreams, facts reflected in this small collection from 1968 mailed to an early supporter. In it, Newton and Christensenn return the contribution ($2.00) of an original subscriber (Julien Beck of The Living Theatre), explaining "If you don't cash this cheque, then you will remain on our lists and receive 'Contacts for Survival' - in installments or as a whole - whichever way we will be able to print it." Beck did not cash his check (it is present), but unfortunately this was probably one of the last and likely most extensive gasps of CFS. The promotional and solicitation materials total some 14pp. of pleas, explanations, descriptions, plans, etc of/for CFS (including selling "Peace Bonds"). Taken together a rare, ephemeral, and rather poignant document from a quintessentially 1960s project.
Read more: INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATIONS/ ASSOCIATIONS INTERNATIONALES, No. 12, 1972.
(Oslo, Norway): Contacts for Survival, (1968). 11.75'' x 8'' overall. Collection of various documents: 14pp. of duplicated promotional materials in two top-corner-stapled groupings (three and six leaves respectively), plus one small duplicated document accompanied by original check. Minor creasing here and there. Else clean and sharp.
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