Mieko Shiomi Spatial Poem No. 1 1965

  • MoMA, Floor 4, 410 The David Geffen Wing

In 1965 Shiomi began Spatial Poem No. 1, the first of what would become a series of nine Spatial Poems, by formulating a language-based prompt: “Word Event: Write a word (or words) on the enclosed card and place it somewhere. Please tell me the word and the place, which will be edited on the world map.” Frustrated by the limits that geographic proximity placed on the participants and audiences for art, she used the postal system to connect artists and collaborators around the globe, sending her prompt out through the mail. As a member of Fluxus, a community of experimental artists headquartered in New York but with an international scope, she was able to ask the Fluxus artist and impresario George Maciunas to provide her with his mailing list of artists, friends, and supporters that were part of the group’s general global network.

Recipients of Shiomi’s “Word Event” request responded with accounts of the word or words they had chosen and the details of the locations where they had placed their cards. Each pin in the hand-drawn map carries a flag with the text she received. Together the pins visualize the entire collaborative process, one in which Shiomi relinquished authorial control and embraced chance. The result is a three-dimensional poem mapped across time and space.

Publication excerpt from MoMA Highlights: 375 Works from The Museum of Modern Art, New York (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2019)
Ink and pencil on board with sixty-nine offset cards on pins, and typewriting on paper with cardboard box
overall: 11 15/16 x 18 x 7/8" (30.3 x 45.7 x 2.2 cm)
The Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Gift
Object number
© 2024 Mieko Shiomi
Drawings and Prints

Installation views

We have identified these works in the following photos from our exhibition history.

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit https://www.moma.org/research/circulating-film.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].