Jim Fleming on Mon, 25 Nov 2002 20:48:16 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Autonomedia Announces "Surrealist Subversions"

"Surrealist Subversions" is a brick of a book, at 742 pages perfect for
hurling through the glass window of the Art History zoo -- which has had
surrealism tied to an early-twentieth-century stake for quite some time
now. Largely an anthology of "Arsenal/Surrealist Subversions", the
Chicago-based surrealist journal borne of a late-60s dissatisfaction with
the way things were going, the book seeks to continue the project of
realizing poetry in everyday life.  Of course, most of us are prevented
from "realizing" poetry just like that, so a good chunk of this book is
devoted to their critique of the miserabilist components of everyday life
that conspire to block the Marvellous ("miserabilism" being the system
which "produces both misery and the idea that misery is the only possible
reality"). As expected, this critique often overlaps with a fundamental
critique of capitalism, and in fact a Surrealist flyer called "Who Needs
the WTO?" received wide distribution in Seattle in those legendary days in
November of 1999. [For a review of this book pointing more towards the
relationship between Chicago Surrealism and the Global Anti-Capitalist
movement, go to
http://www.autonomedia.org/surrealistsubversions/review.html .]

Critique of miserabilism in place, the book also traces the history of
American surrealism, first by collecting documents from within the
movement ("The Surrealist Adventure: Total Nonconformism, Insubordination,
and Revolution as the Way to a Non-Repressive Civilization") and then by
tracing the surrealist path via eruptions of the Marvellous in the culture
at large ("Surrealist Action: Social Transformation as Festival"). The
task of binding the whole project together is expertly accomplished by
editor Ron Sakolsky, particularly with his lengthy introduction to the
book, in which he gives significant cultural and biographical background
to the major and minor players in the movement. All in all, this is a
tremendous, thoroughly illustrated book which will hopefully provoke and
inspire restless and irritated imaginations to gorgeous creative action.

Surrealist Subversions http://www.autonomedia.org/surrealistsubversions


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