George Mačiunas (1931-1978) is best known as the founder and central coordinator of Fluxus from 1962 until his untimely death in 1978. Fluxus was a global collective of artists, musicians, designers bound by their intermedia sensibility and experimental enlightenment. John Cage, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, George Brecht, Larry Miller, Vytautas Landsbergis, Ben Patterson, Milan Knížák, Ken Friedman, Alison Knowles, Henry Flynt, Mieko Shiomi, Ben Vautier, Emmett Williams, and Joseph Beuys were among its members.
Like his ‘Learning Machines’, George Mačiunas was an exemplary processor of information as an enigmatic analytic mind. Mačiunas studied architecture, art history, graphic design, and musicology at the Cooper Union School of Art, Carnegie Institute of Technology Pittsburgh, and the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University in succession over eleven years (1949-1960). Despite the diversity of his education and artworks, Mačiunas’ oeuvre is unified by a lucid diagrammatic aesthetic demonstrating a constructive interaction between data modelling and enlightenment. His engagement with functionality and chronology seen in his geneologies, atlases, and charts can be described as an art of organization which delved into the intutive connections between a schema and its processes. Education, the process of transferring knowledge, is a theme present throughout these works and in “A Preliminary Proposal for a 3-Dimensional System of Information Storage and Presentation”, a proposal to reform what he viewed as the premature specialization and fragmentation of the American education system.