Landing : Athabascau University

On "Thirteen ways of looking at Surrealism"

image I've written a new post at my Wordpress blog: "Thirteen ways of looking at Surrealism." It's mostly a mosaic of some of the most interesting ideas I've read in or about Surrealism, as aesthetic and as praxis.

The backstory is that it's also material that I've repurposed from a rejected submission to a forthcoming issue of Open Letter on Surrealism in Canada. I'm not put out about that submission fail - shit happens - but I still wanted to make the work count somehow, I guess.

Because Surrealism still strikes me as an artistically vital and politically valuable mode of cultural production.

For instance, its reverberations echo throughout contemporary pop culture and subcultures, as suggested by music critic Kodwo Eshun's critique of realism in black Atlantic music: "The 'street' is considered the ground and guarantee of all reality, a compulsory logic explaining all Black Music, conveniently mishearing antisocial surrealism as social realism" (-004).

We can hear that "antisocial surrealism" in black music resonating across the spectrum of Afro-Futurist sounds, from Sun Ra, Lee Perry, and P-Funk to the electronic discoaspora of techno, jungle, and dubstep. Even Grace Jones is still at it.

Work Cited

Eshun, Kodwo. More Brilliant Than the Sun: Adventures in Sonic Fiction. London: Quartet, 1998.


  • Mary Pringle February 21, 2012 - 8:02am

    Grace is great. There's something inherently subversive about dreams--our unconscious sending us messages about things that are obvious but we don't/won't say them. Surrealism tries to capture that subversive power of the unconscious (or whatever brain scientists are calling it now)--it will always be relevant.