Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Conclusions from Dominant Image of the Day game of this summers London festival of surrealist games

Mattias Forshage


(simple intrapolation:)
There are numerous missing eggs, as so many of the sites are occupied by other sphere-shaped objects;
armadillo-like ceratocanthid beetles, drops of mercury, toy footballs
bouncing back and forth in the middle of the street avoiding the football goals on the sidewalks
But the brain tumor in spain rests safely,
watching three romani girls calling for Clas Livijn and other exotic names.
It is not one of them but the woman who guards the tower who wears this breast face with sunglasses on her chest, which is reflected in the setting sun.
Danvikstull bridge is lowered to bridge the gap and madmen rush forth.
Some of them are caught by the crouching cats or hidden mantises.
East Kungsholmen is a pigeons head, and everybody’s playing in the stairs.
You can’t tell anymore who are the madmen.
It may be one of them who is a stunningly beautiful chinese woman,
waking up in the smoking pavilion
almost touched by putrefaction and pinched by portability
she manages to climb onto the roof of the pavilion and sits there,
in, as the roof blocks the noise of the other madmen,
a euphoric silence

(the predictable psychological-sexual interpretation:
Most of the images in this series and a lot of the associative material deals with fertility (but even more infertility), freedom, play, putrefaction, beauty, rest, transgression. It’s possible that any longer series of images chosen would converge on something like that, since they are issues likely to trigger one’s attention.
The eggs and pigeons are the two recurring or significant elements that stand out as more unlikely and thus more informative. On the symbolic level, both relate to peace; while the egg is more on the holistic and productive side, and the pigeon represents an individualistic-irresponsible freedom. Egg is reproduction and mystery, pigeon is lack thereof. Of course both are also associated with the overheated reproductive behavior of most birds (extreme stress, extreme overproduction, extreme mortality rates), and both produce several different associations to circular patterns of nature (involving putrefaction or not).
The notions of infertility and freedom are part of the bachelor machine concept, but other parts of it, such as the repetivity, are here lacking. A (relative) sense of isolation is also to be seen here, but one obviously conditioned not only by a deliberate relative isolation of my general living (the bachelor state as such, the devoted researcher) but also by the specific relative isolation brought about my my hard regular-hours full-time work this specific period. It is remarkable that the imagery of abstinence/impotence (not only the isolatedness in itself but specifically the missing eggs, the two different bags of garbage, the carcass, the armadillo defensiveness) related to this state do not trigger masturbatory imagery to a larger extent (only in the games in the stairs and in the football game over the road). There is one image sticking out it a little where it triggers a triumph fantasy infantile in its banality (the cat suddenly striking out). But in most cases there is an imagery of sublimation, which is always open for interpretation in a selfdestructive sense (castration) or a communicative sense (poetry). If the smoking pavilion is an indication of isolated homunculus-making in the athanor, it is nevertheless one sending out smoke signals! The individualistic-hedonistic pansexual joys of taking pleasure in remarkable beauty, peacefulness etc must of course be taken in their own right, but in this specific connection also related to my wishes of producing good stories for the game account, and thus naively communicative too. Finally, the drawbridge, the communication from Italy, the adventures in Spain, the playing in the stairs, and the general frame of the festival itself, unambiguously point to the communicative and potentially pansexual aspect of this.
Applied on the series of general themes, I conclude the series of images to depict a vague bachelor machine working and its implied transgression into pansexuality.)

some observations on living:
My results in this game, as well as my determination in sticking to carrying it out, is of course connected to the two weeks of the festival being two weeks which I had scheduled in advance as weeks of intense labwork where I would be learning a lot of new stuff and, adapting myself to the office hours of our department lab assistant, having to go up early every day, like in a normal job. So in a sense, the determination is very defensive, to ensure life a share in spite of full-time work. My tiredness (which is accentuated by the heatwave) and my lack of free walking play a major role in conditioning the results, as so many of the images themselves are from the walk between my house and the station or from the train rides, either in the morning or in the evening (at two occasions even in the very last minute, just before entering my house and being succumbed by the relative death of being indoors…).
I think this is one of the most important aspects of surrealist games, but one rarely discussed; how they represent another organising principle of everyday life. We all arrange different types of compromises with the need to work to make money and the need to fulfill different social duties. Just by any means keeping off that dead repetitivity (masturbatory only in a macabre symbolic sense) represented by the determination in the last instance by work hours on the stress to create ”creative” solutions how to fulfill achievements at work and at the same time social achievements in the field of domestic happiness. And as several of us have experienced, bohemic non-planning is usually not a solution, definitely not in the long run, but actually often not in the short run either, by drawing on and strengthening laziness, sloppiness and personal prejudices, rather representing a Charbybdis to that Scylla.
The paradigm of a solution is of course falling in love, which forcefully replaces any other superordinate perspectives on life on the whole and in the tiniest details, producing meaning in the most diverse activities and making almost anything doable out of mere curiosity in the specific context.
Extended surrealist playing is the experimental application of these mechanisms. As the spontaneous driving force transforming the world is absent, it will usually be less forceful. But it operates in exactly the same way, most things will be interesting to do, merely to see what information they might provide in the specific context actualised by the themes and the association chains of the ongoing game. Thus most of the compromises represented by work or social demands will be doable, because they too might provide something interesting, while they are not allowed to set the general agenda, to become the superordinate organiser of things. And on the other hand, other such work or social duties will be undoable, because they are so ridiculous in the relation to the issues involved in the game and the seriousness it invokes (ideally, we should refrain from those things outside a game framework too, but often do we lack not only the necessary determination but actually any particular reason). Correspondingly, we will also grab more small opportunities than usually, of actually really investigating that unknown street, cellar, cave, glade, starting a conversation with that stranger, going along on senseless initiatives, following up that clue or association, looking into that found note or book, etc; things that are the well-known details of surrealist life in general but which, in practice, always have to compete with the counteracting forces of other concerns, of stress and laziness and boredom and of course some accumulated negative experience – in the game context the question is not raised in the first place. The epistemological imperatives of the game tend to set aside all those mere practical limitations, all these nervous objections, all these psychological obstacles, all these prejudices, which constitutes personality, (which are usually given free reign under bohemic circumstances!) and make us take part in the great game of enjoying another sense of civilisation.

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