On the day of Surrealerpool’s launch, a Manifesto of ten points was presented for discussion, and was promptly mislaid. The following was reconstituted from the collected memories of a number of individuals, some of whom were present, some not, and others we’d never heard of.
Surrealerpool Collage does not exist.
By not existing, Surrealerpool Collage seizes perfect and unlimited freedom to explore, by research, juggling, scrying, trial by wombat, seminar, serendipity, champagne and conundrum the continuing legacies of Surrealism and its allies, interlocutors, ancestors, lateral relatives and descendants.
It was decided unanimously that this was not the place to talk about the launching of Surrealism in 1924 (as a movement in poetry initially, extending later into painting, photography, cinema, sculpture and everything else), nor to its roots in ’Pataphysics, Dada, and Symbolist and Decadent arts, and especially not to its deployment of Freudian Psychoanalysis, Marxism and Alchemy to fuse the arts, psychology, politics, the erotic and the occult into an all-encompassing revolutionary movement – ‘Transform the world, said Marx. Change life, said Rimbaud. These two commands are for us but one.’ (André Breton, 1935) – so we will eschew any temptation to make any reference to that.
It was equally emphatically decided not to make the slightest mention, even in passing, of how its spirit has percolated though the subsequent decades, in such varied descendants as (among others) Abstract Expressionism, Free Jazz, the Beats and Psychedelia; the Situationists, Punk, Culture-Jamming and Occupy; The College of ’Pataphysics, Oulipo and the Theatre of the Absurd; Psych et Po and the ‘Politics of Eros’ (Alyce Mahon, 2005).
It was noted however that Surrealism put up comprehensive resistance to a whole spectrum of oppressive forces – political, social, economic and moralistic – with enough success that the movement could dissolve itself in 1969.
But these forces of oppression have regrouped and reasserted themselves in recent years: corporate manageocracy, the dictatorship of technocracy, panoptical surveillance, plutocratic grand larceny, imperialist war, not to mention swivel-eyed religious loonery, ideological policing of thought and speech, prohibitionist prudery, and a reprise of the full cornucopia of fascist baboonery – xenophobia, ‘Populism’, racism, anti-Semitism, misogyny, homophobia and so on.
In a moment of inattention this point was left in a taxi somewhere between Leicester Place and Fitzrovia.
Surrealism’s struggle to rescue the human has been customarily interpreted in Freudian terms as the struggle against the repression of Desire – hence exhibitions with titles like ‘Desire Unbound’ (2001). This is true enough, but under late capitalism, as the commodification of life for commercial consumption seemingly contaminates everything, reducing our cultural world to utmost banality, it may just as readily be addressed in Marxist terms as the struggle against Alienation – from others, from our work, from Nature, from our desires, from our true selves, from Life itself, as we increasingly experience our world through screens, and find ourselves more and more spectating on Life rather than living it. ‘Society exhausts us with work and dazes us with pleasure.’ (Asger Jorn, 1958).
Surrealerpool Collage offers an invitation to all those with a will to resist the hydra-headed monster of Alienation in the name of humanity and joie de vivre, to join together to transform what passes for ‘real life’ into something rich and strange. It provides a meeting place for sympathique minds to gather and exchange ideas and stimulate one another with our own understanding and creativity. It provides an opportunity for the Urban Arcadians, Revolutionary Sybarites, Alchymical Hazardistas and Anarcho-Absurdists who once flocked to the banner of The Flâneur to rally once more. It is an arena for discussion, demonstration, miscellaneous mind-bending and outrageous fortune, and the springboard for poetry, art, performance, invention, film, events, expositions and expeditions, flânerie and celebration – every kind of Alchymy, in short – in pursuit of the Marvellous. ‘Let us not mince words, the marvellous is always beautiful, anything marvellous is beautiful, in fact only the marvellous is beautiful.’ (André Breton, 1924).
It goes without saying that no-one is entitled to speak for Surrealerpool Collage, and any statement made on its behalf is automatically repudiated by the membership.
Including this one.