Monday, September 7, 2009

premonition of a locomotive

Stockholm surrealist group: excerpts from email discussion

A propos of phantom objects, but not quite a game suggestion yet:
Benjamin borrowed a dear old marxist conflict between form and content, the one between means of production and conditions of production: technical advances do as far as they're able borrow available (social) forms, but will sooner or later end up in conflict with the latter and bring about a formal "revolution". The marxism of the second international placed, as we know, the conflict on the level of the mode of production, while Benjamin interested himself for how the conflict expressed itself on the level of technical innovation.
Benjamin: "When trying to learn them properly, errors and mistakes occurred. From another viewpoint these attempts are the most true proofs that technical production in its initial phase was a prisoner of the realm of dreaming. (During certain stages, not only architecture but also technology bears witness of a collective dream.)"
Marx: "To what extent the old form of the means of production initially dominates the new form, is shown/.../ perhaps most strikingly: the locomotive that was experimentally constructed, before the present locomotives appeared, a locomotive which had two feet that it alternately raised just like a horse"
Thus the horse haunts the locomotive, the canvas the camera, the wood the steel, etc.

The classical example of a phenomenon contrary to that horse locomotive is what Apollinaire back in his days defined as surrealism "when man set out to reproduce walking, she invented the wheel, which isn't similar to walking at all" (approximate quote). A game could aim at reinventing the wheel, and finding those old idle ghosts haunting us because we are surrealists? Or do we want to find a specific absence in the single objects? What functional-auratic-sentimental inherent object has been completely chased off out of the object at which I am pointing? Which is the unforeseeable wheel which will totally replace the obsolete ridiculousness I am here hugging?

So, the game would consist of establishing a contact with the exterior, slightly more on the exterior's condition than usually, in order to bring about a transformation instead of the habitual, and thus chasing off the ghosts/ the phantom object part?

Erik, Erik Homburger Erikson said in a freudian context (three Erik in the same sentence!): The faucet is not a phallos symbol, but the phallos is rather a faucet symbol, since the the faucet would never have been invented if it wasn't for primary experiences of needing to pee while asleep etc, experiences which have very little to do with the aims ascribed to the object. This makes the plausible problem solvings of everyday life into mere post-factum-rationalisations, or distortions of their latent content, which may not at all, or only to a very small extent, have something to do with the formal.
The horse memory of the locomotive ought perhaps to go further back than the horse, to some primary process primordial scenes?
Perhaps that is the explanation of the film manuscript I dreamt in November, "The memories of a locomotive"!

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