Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A few possible tasks for a surrealist group in Wien (Vienna) if there will ever be one

* The Donauinsel (Danube island) appears to be an obvious center of the city. An enormously long and mostly very narrow land tongue between two Donau (Danube) arms, apparently largely covered with a mosaique of parkland and worthless places. Try to get lost at the Donauinsel (really a challenge at such a narrow piece of land). Divide it into a random number of segments; investigate one by one in a series (or by different players); fuse the results cadavre exquise-wise; and then shuffle them, place them in random order and see what story is being told; then rearrange them in accordance with their inner logic. It's easy, just like repaginating a book where the course of events has been distorted to conform to linear rationalisations rather than to inner logic. Or pick a spot and gaze out the river, notice every larger object flowing with it and interpret each object as a dream.

* The Rote Wien (Red Vienna) part of the city's history is largely unexplored from a surrealist viewpoint. A furiously active workers movement struggling to organise every single aspect of life in an integrative radical whole (there appears to have been workers societies and collective solutions for everything), and simultaneously of course to integrate and mute the more impatiently radical wings of the movement (apparently in a less hostile manner than in other burgeoning social democratic power nexuses?), and all of this in the presence of the world headquarters of the blossoming psychoanalytical movement. There is a vast range of failed experiments to reexamine (and sometimes retry) here.

* The fin-de-siecle aesthesticism of Wien raises several critical questions about imaginational phenomenology and surrealist perspectives on art. As romanticism-getting-stale and decadent-classicism were venturing continuously further into the absurd and the poetic, which historic aesthetic contradictions played any role whatsoever? If the grand figure of Hans Makart obviously was the Salvador Dalí of his time, does that refer merely to his grandiose-excentric-commercial-megalomanic aspects and painting skills, or also to the part of real groundbreaking investigations into the imagination? If Gustav Klimt turned to the more decorative style for which he is best known by the critical rebuffal of his groundbreaking Fakultätsbilder, was that a major retreat also in terms of the advancement of the investigation of the imagination, or did he luckily hit new solid poetic ground when trying to be uncontroversial? Etc.

* The absence of organised surrealism in Wien is remarkable. The few organising efforts in the 40s need to be scrutinised, and also to clearly demarcate when these transformed into a school of painting, "der Wiener Schule des phantastischen Realismus" (fantastic realism) which at best covers a few detached individual aspects of surrealism. On the other hand, quite other aspects of a possible surrealist spectrum were addressed in a spectacular and often ignorant way in Wiener Aktionismus (actionism). It is important to snatch back the concepts of communal living and sex radicalism, especially in their combination with artistic creation, from their failed local applications. Correspondingly, it is important to emphasise how visions of "fantastic realism" will imply a confrontative radicalism, on the intellectual, spiritual and social levels rather than on the aesthetic. Simply, to demonstrate how surrealism provides a framework that puts the constructive achievements of fantastic realism and actionism both into perspective.

* try regular meetings at the Café Hegelhof

* have a surrealist exhibition at the Sigmund Freud Museum

* make the Sigmund Freud Park more ambiguous

* try furious dérives through tram-surfing


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