Surrealpolitik

Keyword Search Results

There were 30 results from your search for keyword(s): 'Politics & Art'.

  1. A remark -- actually a lyric -- comes to bear: "There is a war / Between the ones who say there is a war / And the ones who say that there isn't." (It's from a Leonard Cohen song.) Paranoid art says, basically, there is a war. Between the one who is looking to find something to change your mind, and the mind that doesn't want to be changed; between the sleepers and those awake, between you and the air and the animals; possibly between heaven and earth. Paranoid art insists on tracking lines (drawn on paper, perhaps): lines of force and influence, force fields of motivation, codes of power. It reinscribes the image of something at stake that others may prefer to obscure. This art traffics in interpretation, and so beckons interpretation on the part of its audience.

    Source: Fear of Music, p. 108-109
  2. Art enabled the individual to resist society not simply by challenging popular tastes and perceptions, or so Lukács argued, but by intensifying experience through its allegorical and symbolic qualities...The artist in Lukács new and broader definition of the term now appears as a "problematical man." Not the political revolutionary but the erudite cultural radical with a bohemian bent -- like Nietzsche -- is the agent of the new: the prophet of an invigorated subjectivity, an emergent culture, and a transformed reality.

    Source: Critical Theory, p. 79
  3. As Coates had suggested in his own novel of the 1920s, The Eater of Darkness, the limits and limitations of avant-gardism were already recognizable within the extremes of avant-garde experience itself. These limits were in fact essential to movements like Dada, whose adherents vehemently, if playfully, rejected the "religious" notions of artistic autonomy and escapism that Cowley describes as conditions of the movement's death. Movements like Dada -- or like the American little magazines that were aware of their own brief life spans -- were provisional rather than static; they died at the moment their adherents invested in them the kind of faith Cowley describes as the makings of a "personal refuge."...Coates and West understood this effect of discouragement as an imperative, rather than as a flaw or telos within avant-gardism. "To avoid the danger of being solemn," Cowley writes of West, "he used to stick pins into his dearest illusions" (Introduction ii). To do otherwise would signify a decadent adherence to false beliefs.

    Source: Anti-Menckenism: Nathanael West, Robert M. Coates, and the provisional avant-garde, p. 526-527
  4. At its best, the political novel generates such intense heat that the ideas it appropriates are melted into its movement and fused with the emotions of its characters.

    Source: Politics and the Novel, p. 21
  5. Breton sets up a quasi-Hegelian dialectic, in which the 'thesis' of life is continually faced with the 'antithesis' of death, resulting in a holistic synthesis of the two that marks a continual life-cycle. But unlike Hegel's insistent rationalism, Breton sees this synthetic totality as emerging as much out of irrational forces as out of rational logic. In fact, it is his observation of the synthesis of the contradictory poles of the rational and irrational in Alvarez Bravo's photographs that attract Breton to them. That Breton hopes to harness the energies of this particular dialectic is evident in his choice of Alvarez Bravo's extremely disquieting image of a murdered striking worker as the title image to his essay. Rather than locating the worker's death purely in relation to the materialist circumstances of trade union politics, as Trotsky would have done, Breton (through Alvarez Bravo) places it evocatively within the much larger sweep of Mexico's long history of anti-imperialist struggle.

    From chapter: Robin Adele Greeley, For An Independent Revolutionary Art: Breton, Trotsky, and Cárdenas's Mexico
    Source: Surrealism, Politics and Culture, p. 216
  6. Burke...resists the notion of purposive artistic content altogether. Rather than providing the "wholeness" of a universal principle within which American culture could integrate itself -- or, for that matter, purging the US cultural landscape of its false prophets, its boobs, and its charlatans -- his notion of "perception without obsession" situates the artist as the agent of formulation rather than transformation. The artist's "moral contribution," Burke writes, "consists in the element of grace which he adds to the conditions of life wherein he finds himself".

    Source: Anti-Menckenism: Nathanael West, Robert M. Coates, and the provisional avant-garde, p. 529
  7. But even the most critical movies see the world through the lenses of western, and usually US, eyes, and indulge an exaggerated confidence in the willingness of the US press to expose wrongdoing and hold the powerful to account.

    From chapter: Hollywood, the CIA, and the 'War on Terror' by Oliver Boyd-Barret, David Herrera, and Jim Baumann
    Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 132
  8. But whatever else it does, The Possessed proves nothing of the kind that might be accessible to proof in "a mere pamphlet."...[T]he political novel is engaged in a task of persuasion which is not really its central or distinctive purpose. I find it hard to imagine, say, a serious socialist being dissuaded from his belief by a reading of The Possessed, though I should like equally to think that the quality and nuance of that belief can never be quite as they were before he read The Possessed.

    Source: Politics and the Novel, p. 22
  9. But why is it that lo real maravilloso becomes such an important category in the consciousness of literary schools from the 1940s onward after 400 years of myth making and magic in Latin American culture? This awakened sensitivity to the magical quality of reality and to the role of myth in history is perhaps an indication of what Ernst Bloch called "non synchronous contradictions" nd is ready-made soil for the sprouting of "dialectical images," in the terminology of Walter Benjamin, for whom (and I quote from Susan Buck-Morss's essay on his notes for his Passagenwerk)

    "the dreaming collective of the recent past appeared as a sleeping giant ready to be awakened by the present generation, and the mythic power of both [the recent and the present generations'] dream states were affirmed, the world re-enchanted, but only in order to break out of history's mythic spell, in fact by reappropriating the power bestowed on the objects of mass culture as utopian dream symbols."

    Source: Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man, p. 166
  10. Despite [Breton and Trotsky's] effort to find a common platform in 'For An Independent Revolutionary Art', one that would combine theory and practice, what begins to emerge instead, both in the manifesto and in other related essays, are the fundamental differences in their basic conceptions of imperialist capitalism and how to combat it in order to set up a socialist sate...[Surrealism's] interactions with trotskyist groups...stem back to the heated arguments between Breton and Pierre Naville in the mid-1920s. Saville, originally a member of Breton's coterie, left Surrealism for the Communist Party in 1926 after experiencing one of Breton's notorious personal attacks. That year he published a pamphlet, La Révolution et les intellectuals. Que peuvent-faire les Surréalistes?, in which he argued that Surrealism and Marxism were incompatible, as the Surrealists were too individualist and bourgeois to contribute to the collective, 'disciplined action of class struggle' necessary to overthrow capitalism. Breton responded in December 1926 with Légitime défense, which rebutted not only Naville's attack but also the refusal of the entire Communist Party to take Surrealism seriously.

    From chapter: Robin Adele Greeley, For an Independent Revolutionary Art: Breton, Trotsky and Cárdenas's Mexico
    Source: Surrealism, Politics and Culture, p. 205-206
  11. Dirty, dark, loud and hysteric, the 1938 Exposition's substitution of interference and disorientation for the traditional orderliness of the exhibition space touched on more than simply aesthetic issues. Without banners, slogans or explicit political declarations, the Surrealists' idiosyncratic installation defined a form of ideological critique that concentrated on the disruptive potential of process, ephemerality, instability and visual frustration against the period's exhibitionary commonplace of stasis, solidity, sanity and visual primacy. However, the failure of scholars to see the prewar show as anything more than an aesthetic or anti-aesthetic event stems at least in part from a failure to adequately treat the spatial and performative dimensions of Surrealism, even as these dimensions arguably fostered the movement's most provocative and ideologically charged work of the period. As the movement's 1938 staging recast the bourgeois eighteenth-century interior of the Parisian gallery in which it was housed, it also pointed to what museological spaces of the day hid: that walls were not neutral, that display strategies were not objective, and that careful taxonomies and rooms enfilade held up the fragile foundations of national chauvinism, authoritative rule and art history alike.

    From chapter: Elena Filipovic, Surrealism in 1938: The Exhibition at War
    Source: Surrealism, Politics and Culture, p. 181
  12. For in modern society ideas raise enormous charges of emotion, they involve us in our most feverish commitments and lead us to our most fearful betrayals. The political novelist may therefore have to take greater risks than most others, as must any artist who uses large quantities of "impure" matter; but his potential reward is accordingly all the greater.

    Source: Politics and the Novel, p. 20
  13. From examples that Benjamin presents of this graphicness in action in the "dialectical image," as in his "One Way Street," we can see that such images are created by the author but are also already formed, or half-formed, so to speak, latent in the world of the popular imagination, awaiting the fine touch of the dialectical imagician's wand -- not unlike Victor Turner's description of the central African herbalist and curer whose adze, in chopping bark off the chosen tree, arouses the slumbering power of material already there awaiting the copula of the magician's touch..

    This notion of the activist acting on something ready to be activated is well conveyed where Benjamin writes that "opinions are to the vast apparatus of social existence what oil is to machines: one does not go up to a turbine and pour oil over it; one applies a little to hidden spindles and joints that one has to know."

    But how does one know?

    Source: Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man, p. 370
  14. In the end, the Surrealists' move toward a rethinking of the exhibition space in 1938 caused little more than temporary local derangement. Misunderstood in its day, Surrealism's dirt was easy to sweep up, the blackened gallery walls quickly repainted white. A cartoon from the period epitomizes the problem: the exhibition's public recognized the disorder as nothing more than impotence; for them, the gallery and everything it represented remained unscathed by the Surrealist intervention. But, perhaps this misunderstanding stemmed from a deeper and more problematic relationship of artistic production and politics. For visitors who were disappointed that the Surrealists had not filled the exhibition with anti-fascist banners or explicit signs of their ideological engagement had good reason to lament: hysteric and ridiculously prankish, the Surrealist exhibition did leave a certain notion of politics behind. And, perhaps therein lies the 1938 Exposition's ultimate force: its refusal of the traditional forms of organized politics...[I]t was not about putting the gallery's white walls in the 'service of the revolution' -- it was a matter of insisting on a consciousness of an exhibition's walls and of the body as impacted by them. All the better to point -- if only temporarily, if only impotently --- to the imbrication of these walls and these bodies in the politics of power.

    From chapter: Elena Filipovic, Surrealism in 1938: The Exhibition at War
    Source: Surrealism, Politics and Culture, p. 202-203
  15. Instead of a Marxist view opposing a non-Marxist account as [historian Alan] Rose argues, what we have are two different modes of conceptualizing Marxism itself. On the one hand, Trotsky focused almost exclusively on the purportedly objective problem of economic exploitation, giving little thought to (among other things) exactly how culture or individual agency might actively be incorporated into Marxist theory. Breton and Surrealism, on the other hand, formed part of a Western Marxist tradition that saw true revolution as occurring on the level of culture as much as any other.

    From chapter: Robin Adele Greeley, For An Independent Revolutionary Art: Breton, Trotsky, and Cárdenas's Mexico
    Source: Surrealism, Politics and Culture, p. 222-223
  16. It would be easy to slip into a mistake here, precisely the mistake that many American novelists make: the notion that abstract ideas invariably contaminate a work of art and should be kept at a safe distance from it. No doubt, when the armored columns of ideology troop in en masse, they do imperil a novel's life and liveliness, but ideas, be they in free isolation or hooped into formal systems, are indispensable to the serious novel.

    Source: Politics and the Novel, p. 20
  17. Like Freud's depiction of the dream-work as the condensed and distorted projection of unconscious wishes, Desnos's poetic and cinematic marvelous eluded the conventional censorship of commercial narratives. It described instead a space beyond good and evil that Desnos attempted, in turn, to reconcile with the real. This reconciliation, he argues in a 1924 essay, is the "revolutionary" goal of surrealism, and, more specifically, of surrealist ethics as "the sense of life and not the observance of human laws." Yet whereas Breton argued for the inextricability of socioeconomic revolution from a surrealist liberation of the mind, Desnos's understanding of revolution privileged the latter aim...Desnos writes:

    "They are a gang -- from the priest to the professor -- who invoke the spirit, who make a living from it, and who make it serve the lowest ends. It's against them, and against this deformed spirit, that the surrealists mean to fight. 'You claim to ruin bourgeois painting and yet you make paintings. Go and destroy the Louvre,' people told me on the way out of the surrealist exhibition. If we destroyed the paintings in the Louvre we would be individualists. Likewise you don't just go out and shoot fascist delegates. But you fight the capitalist spirit. Right now it's less a matter of carrying out revolution than of preparing for a battle of opinion."

    Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 128-129
  18. Numbers of 'CIA movies' increased significantly in the 2000s...These movies frequently rewrite history to support US interests or soften potential critique. Some are supportive of the institutional CIA, CIA protagonists, and US foreign policy. Some favour only one or two of these three. Occasionally a movie is critical of all three. Movies commonly acknowledge popular disquiet with CIA methods while quietly endorsing the authority of its 'parent', the global hegemon. Spying and covert activity are unquestionably 'normal'. If 'normalization' was Hollywood's only ideological work, this alone would contribute to US empire.

    From chapter: Hollywood, the CIA, and the 'War on Terror' by Oliver Boyd-Barret, David Herrera, and Jim Baumann
    Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 116-117
  19. Paranoia has its downsides as an agency in daily life, or in the political sphere of collective action, which finds itself beset everywhere by the nightmarish influence of conspiracy thinking (they call it theory, but theories exist to be tested, and conspiracy thinking exists never to be tested, and globally ignores the results of tests imposed by others). The suspicion that malign operators are responsible for every one of the injustices and heartbreaks of existence is a consoling view, a balm to bleak glimpses of the void behind our reality.

    From chapter: Is Fear of Music a Paranoid Record?
    Source: Fear of Music, p. 107
  20. Perhaps above all, paranoid art is usefully confused about what is on the inside and what is on the outside of the container. Which is the place the war is to be fought?...Paranoid art is where Copernicus goes to be persistently overthrown, for it has noticed that consciousness is itself a permanent conspiracy theory, and one that is ipso facto correct. I think, therefore I am at the center of this story. Even if I don't want to be. Even if I'd rather sleep. While paranoia in everyday life asks questions it believes have terrifying answers, paranoid art knows the more terrifying (and inevitable) discoveries are further questions. For paranoid art, unlike paranoid persons, also distrusts itself. And so, paranoid art is the ultimate opposite, the urgent opposite, of complacent art.

    Source: Fear of Music, p. 109
  21. Politics and fabulation overlap further towards the end of Part Five of How German Is It in a section entitled 'The purpose of an antiterrorist film'. According to Wurtenhberg's chief of police, the purpose of such a film amounts to constructing a complete terrorist profile that identifies 'their slang, their gestures, their preferences, their way of dressing...their weapons, their techniques, their political rhetoric...' in order to 'Depict as accurately as possible the threat they pose to the stability of this society'. However, as the narrative voice points out, presenting an authentic picture of the threat is fundamentally a matter of deciding how to 'minimize' or 'exaggerate' the terrorists' 'strength' and 'callousness'. Determining a special-effect of realism appears to be the only way the desired political effects can be realized: 'In order to clarify, to make evident a terrorist threat, the film has to distort, fabricate and often lie. But no matter how great these flaws are, the need for the film is self evident'...That this whole procedure requires that the distinctions between events and representations, facts and fictions, 'terrorism' and counter-terrorism, become totally unclear in order to manipulate the public is no doubt why there is 'always a possibility' that it will not succeed.

    Source: Terrorism and Modern Literature, p. 227-228
  22. The continual difficulties and internecine squabbling over the next decade between the Surrealists and the Trotskyists make the outward success of Breton's meeting with Trotsky in Mexico all the more surprising. In fact, a close look at these differences of opinion indicates that not only did the Surrealists have very little idea of what Trotsky actually stood for, but the reverse was also true. There is little solid evidence that the Surrealists comprehended Trotsky's role in Soviet leadership -- his arguments, for instance, with Lenin over the question of labour unions, his views on the Chinese revolution, or his attitude towards anarchism. And although Trotsky had no doubt heard of Breton and the Surrealists, his knowledge of their work was extremely limited. His mistrust of certain principles fundamental to Surrealism -- the theory of objective chance in particular -- was in many ways linked to his general incomprehension of modernist literature and the visual arts. For the Surrealists, what was most important by 1938 was that Trotsky was anti-Stalinist, and that his 1924 book, Literature and Revolution, advocated freedom of cultural expression as necessary to any true proletarian state. In 'For An Independent Revolutionary Art', Breton would restate Trotsky's famous dictum from Literature and Revolution that 'art must, above all, be judged by its own laws, that is to say the laws of art'.

    From chapter: Robin Adele Greeley, For An Independent Revolutionary Art: Breton, Trotsky, and Cárdenas's Mexico
    Source: Surrealism, Politics and Culture, p. 207-208
  23. The day seems long past when a sorcerer could use art to confuse and destroy the enemy. Even when Brecht evokes the "house of Tar" to take on the Third Reich, we take it as mere metaphor. Poet at work, we say.

    But what if this distinction between art and war is fatuous, that all along the science of war has been a misnomer, just like the distinction between metaphor and reality? How else to explain the frisson we feel when we come across an ancient Chinese manual of war such as that of Sun Tau, reeking of the magic of antiquity and Orientalism, and nod our heads in respect? For one of the strangest things about war whether ancient or postmodern is that as a pumped-out, puffed-up "science," it reeks of craft and witchcraft, accident and chance, as much as planning. Indeed the more "scientific" or "technological" it appears, the more arcane and mysterious, also. Guerrilla warfare makes this doubly so. Clausewitz is known on account of his equation of politics with war, but is not politics merely the tip of a submerged continent of power whose outlines we dimly discern and whose uncanny force we feel?

    To combine a magician, a surrealist painter, and a zoologist, as in the British War Office, is pretty much the mind-set that any of us interested in brushing history against the grain might espouse. So how might one out-camouflage their camouflage? That was John Heartfield's strategy with photomontage in Berlin around the tie Brecht wrote his poem about the anxieties of the regime. Heartfelt was a pioneer in the art of photomontage, cutting up images, rearranging the parts, and adding some new ones and a caption so as to reverse the message or expose its hidden meanings. This would be to counteract the macabre artistry of "love beads," [note: on soldiers] themselves a sardonic transgression of transgression. It is also what Delouse and Guattari ["Treatise on Nomadology: The War Machine" from A Thousand Plateaus] were getting at with their labored notion of the war machine, a machine they saw as the anarchic special ops built into any army, yet antithetical to it....

    Camouflaged soldiers bring into being a most curious amalgam of the allegedly utilitarian and the unacknowledged exotic. Blending with the animal world and the love of imitation therein, together with the aesthetic pleasure of theatrical disguise, the coloration we call camouflage illustrates how narrow is the view of the practical, workaday world if it does not admit that the most practical is also the most aesthetic when transplanted from the field to the battlefield.

    To date the field of aesthetics has paid scant attention to its affinity with the animal and with war, just as it has fought shy of magic and conjuring. So-called primitive societies knew better. To open this doorway, as with the war machine, or with Tom Mitchell's pointed question, "What do pictures want?" is to recast the division between the aesthetic and the practical, a first step to understanding how truth now functions in the Terror of the war against terror.

    Source: Zoology, Magic, and Surrealism in the War on Terror, p. S116
  24. The film [Spy Game] uncritically adopts a US-framed list of 'good' and 'bad' nations, reinforcing a world view that synchronizes with US policies. North Vietnamese sympathizers are 'bad' in the Vietnam War: no call for ethical qualms over torture and death visited upon neutrals and nationalists alike by Phoenix.

    From chapter: Hollywood, the CIA, and the 'War on Terror' by Oliver Boyd-Barret, David Herrera, and Jim Baumann
    Source: Media & Terrorism: Global Perspectives, p. 118
  25. The writers in the Aesthete: 1925 group themselves shared Mencken's scorn for "messianic" radicalism; yet they nonetheless maintained that the function of the critic was, as Burke put it, to "refine the propensities of his age, formulating their aesthetic equivalent, translating them into terms of excellence". They advocated for the significance of provisional groups, little magazines, and collective pursuits as a means for arbitrating artistic responsibility and for galvanizing the dialogism and critical spirit that would upend closed, utopian thinking.

    Source: Anti-Menckenism: Nathanael West, Robert M. Coates, and the provisional avant-garde, p. 254
  26. This type of image-making and image-dependent historiography is also the subject of a pointedly eccentric contribution to the twentieth-century Western European theory of social revolution, namely Walter Benjamin's concepts of redemptive criticism and dialectical images. In his youth, in 1914, Benjamin argued for just the kind of historiography as is exhibited in the image-making provoked by the Virgin of Caloto. Contrary to the view of history as a progressive continuum, the young Benjamin advanced the notion that "history rests collected in a focal point, as formerly in the utopian images of thinkers. The elements of the end condition are not present as formless tendencies of progress but instead are embedded in every present as endangered, condemned, and ridiculed creations and ideas." The historical task, he went on to say, "is to give absolute form in a genuine way to the immanent condition of fulfillment, to make it visible and predominant in the present."

    Source: Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man, p. 199
  27. To the degree that he is really a novelist, a man seized by the passion to represent and to give order to experience, he must drive the politics of or behind his novel into a complex relation with the kinds of experience that resist reduction to formula -- and this once done, supreme difficulty though it is, transforms his ideas astonishingly.

    Source: Politics and the Novel, p. 21
  28. We disdained what we called the "traditional Left" as little more than a "loyal opposition" of the old order. We saw ourselves as the radical negation of that order in its entirety, left-wing and all. We rejected, as if by instinct, the stifling ideological compartmentalizations which seemed to us to typify the overall bureaucratic sterility of so many leftist orthodoxies. Their indifference to "culture," for example -- except as the direct expression of a "political line" -- convinced us that their vision went no further than a "planned economy." What excited us, on the contrary, were the limitless possibilities of the free imagination in conditions of playful anarchy.

    Source: Dancin' in the Streets, p. 15
  29. We in Washington are accustomed to the petty scandals of Washington politics. However, there is another category of offenses, described by the French poet Andre Chenier as "les crimes puissants qui font trembler les lois," crimes so great that they make the laws themselves tremble.

    [W]hen the Iran-Contra scandal exploded in 1986, both the Congress and the national mainstream media pulled up short. . . . The laws trembled at the prospect of a political trial that threatened to shatter the compact of trust between the rulers and the ruled, a compact that was the foundation upon which the very law itself rested.

    The lesson was clear: accountability declines as the magnitude of the crime and the power of those charged increase.

    Source: October Surprise: America’s Hostages in Iran and the Election of Ronald Reagan, p.
  30. [T]he live 'hysteric' served as the perfect cipher for the Surrealist exhibition's provocation against both modernism and its most authority-weighted institutions. Remote from the productivist/rational/utopian concerns of what is now understood as high modernism, the Surrealists violently rejected, in particular, architectural modernism throughout the life of the movement. During the 1930s, Dali even conflated hysteria with the 'terrifying and edible beauty' of Art Nouveau -- that architecture whose asymmetry, undulating curves and 'perversity' offered a corrective, in the Spaniard's view, to the right angles and functionalism of the modernist architecture championed by Le Corbusier. An edifice as hysterical body, womb, psychic envelope or crumbling ruin emerged as the only possible counter for Surrealism to the repressive authority of Architecture.

    From chapter: Elena Filipovic, Surrealism in 1938: The Exhibition at War
    Source: Surrealism, Politics and Culture, p. 195-196