Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Crawling the ice for a year

Now the original intention with the icecrawler blog was to have a forum for critical discussion about organisational and internal theoretical questions of the surrealist movement, starting out from the hellchoir text. Now some people, it turned out, strongly preferred to see that discussion not publicised, and others, perhaps as usual, didn’t really react at all or didn’t bother to communicate their reactions. So what we have been doing here during the last year is pretty much to throw out some minor updates and some scraps of raw meat for anyone to snap at while still waiting for more comments and suggestions to turn up, along with other departure points to adress similar questions as hellchoir did but perhaps with other means or specific focuses. It is ok for us to display the confusion and hunches of our own ongoing discussions, but we would be very much more interested in seeing others take part in those same discussions, either as commentaries here or through email or any other means. And for those of you who believe in keeping the “public” “at bay” just mark your comments “strictly for internal use” or similar and we will not post, explicitly quote or in detail refer to them in any open forum. We may have quoted from some letters or documents the status of which were not obvious, but then we should also remember that an exaggarated carefulness and politeness is not part of surrealist or any polemics, and the major question remains remembering who your comrades are, and respecting their differences but not their shortcomings, making critical confrontation a constructive challenge and not an aggressive or selfrighteous gesture. We still need to draw a lot more strategical and epistemological conclusions from these 80 years of experimentation, and we still need new suggestions more than anything.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Instead of the various previously announced (some repeatedly) discussions - december is apparently an innately bad time (the massive darkness perhaps the only good thing about it) - only a few whims are published here this time.

The cormorant council

The cormorant council (kormorantrådet) named itself after the avian oracle of Mattias Forshage's novel "Dreamgeography naturegeography" and launched a swedish-language blog for dreamgeographical projects. For your knowledge, here is translation of their inaugural texts (excluding a piece with irrelevant praise of the novel).

The cormorant council collects field notes, hunches and theories around the interface between dream and geography, wants to sharpen the attention towards this area through exchanging experience and theoretical deepening, breeds, publicises and coordinates dreamgeographical research projects, believes in conditionless enquiry but gladly and especially emphasise, in the spirit of surrealism, the poetic aspects of being.

With dream geography research we mean (for the moment):

a) Geographical observations in the dream and in dreaming.

More specifically observations on how places, events, experiences and relations are distributed in sleep-dreaming, active imagination and whisful thinking.
It should also be possible to make geographical observations in the unconscious habits and representations, that is, based on the activism of absentmindedness which can make us commit decisive dreamgeographical slips such as loosing our way, mistake one city for another, etc.
The basic question becomes in what way dream geography is distinguished from awake geography, both in a general sense (theory) and regarding how this exploration can enrich our ways of living, moving, looking at the world around us and within us (biopolitics).
Any definitive answers to these questions we will not willingly find. The section we place between dream geography and awake geography will necessarily be polyphonic and anecdotal.

b) Psychogeographical phenomenology in general

That is: whatever makes us perceive geography in one way rather than another, what maps show and what they don’t show, what desires and notions are tied or could be tied to certain places.
This means that the question arise what kinds of causal relations condition our activities, and where the decisive factors for such formative processes are to be found, and what possibilities and freedoms can be generated through making these conscious – and manipulating with them.
As a consequence of this we want of course to continuously develop and apply experimental methods making it possible for us to perceive the limitations and possibilities of geography.


An invitation to participate in this research is hereby issued. Participation is primarily attained by focusing on the dream-geographic spirit; sharpening the gaze for the dream-geographical experiences; taking notes, experimenting, communicating, involving others, modifying habits. Such discrete disturbances of behavior and perception will now occasionally (but far from always) appear trivial or pointless, but in the long run they can change the structure of everydaylife radically.

Mass mobilisation in northern Europe

I apologise in advance for this relapse into good old whining anarchism, but the times are a bit compelling…

When, in the upper teen ages, substiantial possibilities offered themselves of establishing a more serious sense of independence from the parents and their mode of life, the first things I abandoned was TV-watching and christmas-celebrating. I had theoretical justifications for it at the time, though not based on Marx and Debord, but rather on bottomline humanist individualism. The concrete experience was unambiguous, that regardless of how much you had managed to develop your interests, your means of expressions, your personal choice of perspectives, curiosities, preferences and opinions, when leaning back in the family TV sofa in the end of the day, all of this was in a sense reduced to zero, all souls were synchronised to standard settings, all thoughts, desires and knowledge were rectified with the conventional. And if this wasn’t enough there was also the annual brainwash where strict repetition of strange rituals combined with an overflowing conventional warmth convinced everybody that all personal development, all self-chosen lifestyles are just illusions and we all ultimately belong inside the bourgois core family and its caring conventions.

Now, some people claim they developed their own, creative, ways of watching TV. Perhaps.

Others have developed their own christmas traditions and pull off ordinary parties or other self-chosen rituals on the same day. In a sense we are free to choose what to celebrate, but only in a sense; and it must be noted that all these “alternative” christmas traditions are merely defensive, trying hard to make up something pleasant to survive in the midst of the huge void created by the unique mass mobilisation of the entire society in celebrating christmas.

And let us do away with these old illusions of what is being celebrated. Many people still believe christmas is primarily about christianity (well there is a clear increase in christian symbols and christian platitudes, but seemingly not a corresponding one in proselytising by christian sects or advances by christian ideology; and most of the celebrators here remain confessing atheists) or primarily about capitalism (well many parts of economy profits sweetly on this huge boost of consumer goods sales of course, but capitalism is a fairground all the year round and nothing is really dependent on this particular festival, and most of the celebrators are explicit that this commerce is just a minor part of the meaning). Well quite obviously christmas is primarily about family values. This is the only time of the year when society quits functioning, almost every single public function, including infrastructure, management, even commerce itself on the actual holidays, and more importantly almost all of urban sociality (in short: interacting with strangers) is just turned off. There is only the family. There is only the confined selfsufficient world of endless but narrowminded caring, of warm and unescapable maternal love, of absolute loyalty, of an immutable orderliness, of the perpetual repetition of the golden age scene of always being a child again never wanting anything else but the love and gifts of the parents. Of course christmas is one of the huge holidays of repetitive domestic conflicts despair (in Sweden invoked with the chamber plays by ex-surrealist writer Lars Norén) and domestic violence, of people eating and drinking themselves to death and of lonely people dying of loneliness, but that is just the other side of the coin of course. None of this, none of the frustration with being reduced to an infantile stage - a universalised under age, never any citizens rights, never adult responsability - leads to anything but refreshing the hope that next year it will all be good after all. Some may say in a structuralist sense that the volontary lack of freedom this day gives contrast and meaning to the relative freedom of the rest of the year; maybe so, and like typical structuralist models this means static, no hope of real change.

The celebration of the family is performed with equal fervor of those who are happily confined within a family, those who live alone but wish nothing higher than to be granted entry into this paradisical existence, those who don’t even try to reach it for themselves but still pay deep respects to it “for the sake of the children”, conservatives, liberals and socialists, homo- and heterosexuals, atheists, christians and nowadays even muslims (when they are finally realising that it isn’t about religion).

I still claim that TV and christmas are perhaps the two single most important vehicles of reproducing conformism, of creating a sense of unity of the citizens in the defense ot the current order, of creating a more or less bearable lifestyle without openended communication efforts, without adressing real problems, without facing uncertainty and possible change. But I know that this makes me a boring old moralist, straggling to escape the seductions of the conventional, seductions of that old death wish; and idealistically ascribing evil intents to social forms. Suggestions to any constructive views on this whatsoever could be appreciated.



For those who still believe the surrealist group in Stockholm lacks humor, we here present some excerpts from a recent philosophical debate within the group. The combattants are NN, CA and JE, and your editor here were among those who entirely failed to follow these out of context speculations borrowed from the highly specialised fields of neurophysiology, physics, consciousness philosophy, and some evolutionary biology and gnostic demonology. Chronology and authorship of parts is already quite difficult to reconstruct since most parts are insertions into earlier emails. So, just as obviously as this selection was made largely for entertaining and ridiculing purposes, the editor has been fooled himself since obviously some grand poetic thought experiments lie dormant waiting to unfold themselves in there, and one or other of the collective spirits of the group remain responsible for the madness of the unity of this strange brew.

Tuning in on living in another medium, could that be the core? A medium which doesn’t yet exist, which yet is but a graduated dislocation along a scale in one experiment or another. And o how easy it would be to reduce this thought to a mere metaphor-

It’s all about the extended network, the world, and in that case the energy utilised to nurture the organism carrying around an advanced brain, just as the population it is a part of and the biotope they inhabitate, plus all kinds of substrates and energetic processes, must all be accounted for in the grand total sum. It is difficult to create a private economy here!

Then if we in some fourierian intoxication would like to push the human system beyond its current compromises, for example by evolving bioluminescence, then we need more energy than a contained system can provide, we need the direct injection of the combustion engine, a transformator system which takes the detour over certain biological obstacles, perhaps matter as such, why not death if it happens to be in the way, obstacles which are nothing to fourierian verve.

In my worldview consciousness is physical, there are no discrete transfers in its locations, while it is actually located everywhere; where the nervous system ends other aspects pick up (yet unclear but just because too little research has been devoted to it).

Nervous movements in the brain are just as qualitatively distinct from the appearance of phenomena as the aerial vibrations mediating the sound of thunder are from the physical occurences in the aerial ocean, and in that way it is stupid to localise consciousness in the brain rather than localising consciousness in the occurrence in the air. Consciousness are where things happen, I have both Heidegger and Deleuze on my side in this question!

Last but not least, entropy only describes the appearance between starting point and endpoint, and not the way inbetween. The latter would be the task of kinetics, that is how fast processes are. So speaking about shift of medium in order to avoid entropy is not to speak about time as concretion, which is the same as speaking about abstract archetypical conditions, eternal states.

A glowworm probably has what we might call with a semi-archaic vocabulary the energy budget of a spirit.

This type of transcendence is reached mainly with meditation or drugs and is mostly a kind of experienced state which we can be impressed by or which we can ridicule.

The transcendental is the syntheses and the translations making up the happenings of the network so to speak. The process constituting the subject from one second to the other.

It's possible that energy consumption could be reduced more than what evolution already spontaneously managed, but in that case it must be remembered that the openness, which our involuted brain was involuted for, may get lost in the process.

I hadn’t thought about that, it makes me worried. So we should tiptoe carefully here, so the cake slice isn’t further narrowed? But if it becomes the question of an atrophying regress according to a zero sum principle, so that the reduced complexity of the brain is counterweighted by other archibraic innovations? Or if the openness is just turned in other directions than we discern now? In that case nostalghia will be unfitting, look a death urge of alchemical/hermetical kind, not without worry of course, but still.

I find it difficult to see the experienced mental autonomy and the more or less wild activity of the imagination as possible in a networkless and energy-parsimonious vacuum.

On the contrary, our mental autonomy has increased keeping pace with the involution of the brain having occurred paralell with the development of cybernetic networks, from an evolutionary viewpoint.

Talking about evolution is talking about transcendence in the concrete!

So instead of celebrating bioluminescence I hail the cosmic power differentiating matter, creating and annihilating structures, gives time a direction and slowly disintegrates all information in the universe: friction.