Surrealism and Paris, 1920sScott Scholz11-30-2012
DADA✤ Before Surrealism was Dada, an art movement that began in 1916.✤ Dada was centered in Zurich, Switzerland: Dada participants from around Europe congregated there for the country’s political neutrality in World War I.✤ Primary figures: Tristan Tzara (spokesperson and author of manifestos), Hugo Ball (poet and owner of main Dada performance space, the Cabaret Voltaire).
What is Dada?✤ Dada wasn’t well-defined, and as a group it wasn’t well-organized✤ Rejection of a culture capable of self-destruction and world war✤ Anti-art, anti-logic, anti-reason✤ At the end of WWI (1918), Dada participants began returning to their home countries, spreading their ideas throughout Europe
Dada goes to Paris✤ Tristan Tzara moved to Paris in 1919, joining the staff of Litterature magazine✤ Andre Breton, eventual leader of Surrealists, and Tzara had public and private disagreements in 1920 and 1921, leading to the “death of Dada” being declared in 1922.✤ Personal struggles for dominance within artistic circles, as well as political disagreements.
Surrealism is born✤ In 1924, Andre Breton published the first Surrealist Manifesto, and opened the Bureau of Surrealist Research✤ Breton and his collaborators combined the tools and techniques of Dada, including collage and “found art,” with elements of Freudian psychoanalysis
Automatic processes✤ Breton defined Surrealism as “pure psychic automatism”✤ Automatic drawing and writing - moving the pen with as little conscious influence as possible, bringing out the subconscious mind✤ Emphasis on dream states and analyzing dreams
Surrealist Games✤ Mostly centered around automatic methods mixed with random/chance operations✤ For recreation (idea generation) and investigation (into the early science of psychoanalysis)✤ Results are anti-tradition like Dada, but incorporate the subconscious, collective consciousness, dream analysis
Influence on contemporary culture ✤ Dada/Surrealist techniques continue to influence modern art, literature, music, and web culture
Sampling✤ Early electronic music✤ hip-hop✤ dance/electronica✤ pop
Mashups✤ Video, audio, textual recombinations of pre- existing materials✤ Created and shared by a diverse and sometimes anonymous audience
Memes✤ Shared social/cultural bits of information✤ Often transformed through mashup techniques✤ “going viral”
Let’s play!✤ Book of Surrealist Games✤ More games online
Automatic Writing✤ Sit at a table with pen and paper; put yourself in a “receptive” frame of mind, and start writing. Continue writing without thinking of what is appearing beneath your pen. Write as fast as you can. If, for Some reason, the flow stops, leave a space and immediately begin again by writing down the first letter of the next sentence. Choose this letter at random before you begin, for instance, a “T,” and always begin this new sentence with a “T.” Although in the purest version of automatism nothing is “corrected” or re-written, the unexpected material produced by this method can be used as the basis for further composition. What is crucial is the unpremeditated free association that creates the basic text.
Questions and Answers✤ Divide paper into three columns. Write a question in each column.✤ Below each question, write the context of the question (who/what/when/where/w hy) in parentheses. These will be context clues for the next player.
✤ Fold the paper so that only the context words are exposed, and pass to the next player.
✤ The next player answers each question, writes another three questions, and so on.
Exquisite Corpse (drawing)✤ Draw on a section of paper✤ Fold it so that only a few small lines show, and pass to the next player✤ The next player continues the drawing, folding, and so on
Exquisite Corpse (writing)✤ This game creates composite sentences by having each collaborator add one column of sentence parts at a time. Divide a lined piece of paper into five columns:✤ 1. Article/adjective✤ 2. Noun✤ 3. Verb✤ 4. Article/adjective✤ 5. noun
✤ The first player takes the first article/adjective column, writing an article and adjective on each line of the paper. After reaching the bottom, the player folds the paper so that his or her writing is invisible and passes it to the next player. Each player in turns fills out a column without being able to see any of the finished columns.
Questions? Comments?✤ My email is Scott.Scholz@gmail.com✤ You may find me online at WordsOnSounds.blogspot.com