Monday, September 3, 2007


The march posting on the icecrawler blog was intended to be notes from the discussion within the Stockholm surrealist group on religion in contemporary times, as explicitly requested by the Paris surrealist group, and originally triggered by how many surrealists thought Guy Ducornet’s major atheism initiative required a deepened collective discussion. Niklas Nenzén drafted a text, which to other members seemed to address just a minor selection of questions involved. At a meeting we had a tough but clarifying discussion on current ideological, sociopolitical, geopolitical aspects of religion, which made everybody exhausted and no one was inclined afterwards to sum it up in written form. At that point the Paris tract “To have done with the spectre of God” appeared (read it in french here), and seemed to cover in an acceptable and partly very good form some of these questions, even though it was also suspiciously reconcilient in explicitly preferring western societies to islamic countries (isn’t than a cretinisingly banal and pragmatic question which is entirely irrelevant from the viewpoint of surrealism?). At that point, contributions was starting to appear within the Stockholm group by people who had not taken part in the discussion up to then and/or regarding questions that had not been included up to then. Surprisingly, a defense of oldschool rationalistic atheism turned up alongside a defense for a leibnizian redefinition of the concept of theology. At that point, any call to return to order and to restate what ought to be the focus or circumscription of the discussion was regarded as purely hostile, and the following brawl left no agreements entire. This is the reason why the icecrawler blog has not been updated since then, and why the Stockholm group has not produced a joint statement in the question. At this point, it seemed we are starting to feel detached enough to display some of the statements, and when the editor of this blog threatened to do so several persons (including himself) started very eagerly to revise their texts, so hopefully they will be displayed here within a few weeks.

Until then, a few minor items have been added now in september:
- a short notice about surrealist boxes, from the documentation of an exhibition/event in Stockholm in may 2007 (with a few images)
- a technical note on definitions of surrealism
- an account of the analytical labors triggered by the innocent suggestion of “randomly picking an animal” in this years London surrealist game festival

forthcoming themes along the religion texts:
- fundaments of urbanity
- walking and happiness
- critical examination of the concept “poetic materialism”
- poetic materialism as research program

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The jam in the discussion concerning atheism which supposed to occure when two unespected defenses jumped out of a hat and created a degenerative detour from what already was recogniced as relevant, actually took the discussion in the direction of finding out what should be relevant.
This discussion didnt exactly lead to a dead end exept in the sense that it delayed the production of an written joint statement.
Probably it still got a healthy reverberation within the group.
The question created a polarity between the stance of an explosive urge to create a concept of religion that could easily be recogniced as an ideological enemy to and the logical negation of surrealism, for mobilizing and rhetorical purposes, and a hesitating stance that wanted to explore whatever qualitatively different components that could be left unrecogniced in a to hastily drafted charicature.
And to give the diverse phenomena that happens to be connotated to, or subsumed under, the image of religion in general, their own considerations and concepts.
Of course we thought this activity would help us to find out what was relevant for consideration or exploration, or relevant as targeted bad guy for an mobilised activism. And also if what we found could be said to fall under the banner of religion exclusively, or if it is illusory to apprehend the phenomena only as existing in contexts dubbed religious. Or maybe if it was wise to point at tendencies in the different events that happen "in religion" and to see if they also are to be found in other context, and maybe leave the valorizing judgement to fall upon some of the effects these tendencies and their determinating factors bring about in given contexts. And also to ask for the genesis of this tendencies, what profits from them and what selects them. Another part of the hesitating sabotage was the question of finding, in the phenomena associated to religion, or belonging to, what could be interesting from a surrealist perspective. Or from other perspectives.
The question was now: What is all this religion things? And explorations of this question was what some part of the group found going beyond what is relevant, a depature from order etc. with the hesitating part finding it impossible to find what could be relevant without a careful surveying, and even more impossible when this inclination was halted by the hurry to find an easily understood and narrowed down concept to shadowbox in a public declaration.

Another question raised is about the could be religious underpinnings of the order to return to. This when all hesitation and consideration was taken as signs of "cuddling with religion".

Maybe the collective endavour of exploring something without first knowing what to look for, and how to react when this is found, is somewhat surrealist? As also the production of staments or reports when the process have taken its course.

The discussion that followed could have big inpact on our activity, how we relate to tradition and our imagined surroundings, as also to immanent reality.