Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Monday 16th - Sunday 29th July

in London and many other locations
in the UK and internationally

A series of Surrealist games, experiments and investigations will be conducted, including:


and many more ...

During the Festival, SLAG open meetings will be taking place in various parts of London on the 16th, 22nd, 24th and 27th of July. If you think you might like to join us in person, email us at the usual address.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

TAROT DÉRIVE, Barbican Highwalks, Saturday 16th June

King of Swords: Carolina

XI Justice: Justine

XV The Devil: Merl

Three of Wands: Nacho

Queen of Cups: Paul

Four of Pentacles: Tobias

Monday, June 25, 2007

Sunday, June 17, 2007


a joint statement by SLAG and the Surrealist Group of Río de la Plata

Spanish version: click here.

All Those Wasted Sphincters
collage by Stephen Maddison

Hurrah hurrah cry the British ruling class, look how proud we are that we killed hundreds of ill-trained and ill-equipped Argentinian teenagers 25 years ago. What evidence of our nobility that so many British servicemen left their limbs and faces scattered across the rocks of the south Atlantic to defend British colonial might in the form of a trading post surrounded by minefields on a rock in South Georgia. Meanwhile in Buenos Aires, the Argentinian government marks the occasion by demonstrating how grown up and statesmanlike it’s become as it implements the harsh economic model developed by its military predecessors. It defends the memory of those killed by the junta by going cap in hand to the butchers of Washington for scraps of favour. We’re not like the junta, it says, as it complacently watches the impoverishment of ordinary Argentinians and sanctions police brutality against those who protest.

Twenty-five years ago two moribund and unpopular governments engaged in a dispute to remain the biggest bully in the playground. Argentina’s military junta never challenged British colonialism’s enclave in the South Atlantic: had Galtieri won, it would merely have justified the prolongation of a vicious and bloody dictatorship on the backs of the Argentinian people. Instead it was Thatcher, that loyal friend of military dictatorships across Latin America, who claimed the prize and secured the continuation of her political ambitions. Her victory then opened the antechamber to the filthy prison world we find ourselves in now.

In 1982 two unpopular governments sought to establish their credentials by spending the one resource they didn’t have to pay for – the lives of ordinary young people who should have been fucking and dreaming side by side, not fighting and dying in opposition to each other. Right now in 2007 we have two governments which with their own particular characteristics and background can in no way be described as ‘popular’, and which are seeking to establish their credentials by making sentimentalised and hypocritical speeches around the graves that they filled. By mawkishly ‘commemorating’ the pointless carnage in the Malvinas they sentimentalise state violence, inuring their audience to bloodstains in the sands of the Middle East and Central Asia.

Against any notions of patriotic duty to those who sent the victims to their futile deaths, SLAG and the Surrealist Group of Río de la Plata are proud to declare once again our revolutionary Surrealist internationalism. We feel nothing but contempt for the logic of a system which, as much in the UK as in Argentina, continues to shoot dead innocent men like Jean-Charles de Menezes and Carlos Fuentealba. These governments claim to speak on our behalf but their words are indistinct with the blood and bone half-chewed in their mouths. It is not just that we have more in common with each other than with “our” governments: we have nothing in common whatever with those governments.

United by our utopian longings, on this occasion of the 25th anniversary of the end of the slaughter the Malvinas, we hereby declare the islands an Inclusion Zone, without flags or borders. Let’s raise the Belgrano and the Galahad, so that the lives thrown away so casually can once again people a fruitful world of imaginative potential. In our island utopia drowned sailors swim up from the cold and darkness, penguins wheeling and circling above them in the freedom of the sea. Shattered soldiers, their hair flaming like angels’ swords, rise again to fly with albatrosses and ride whales, their loved ones wearing coronets of snow, rushing to meet them on the backs of porpoises.

In the future these remote islands will be not just a trading post and gun emplacement, but a haven for dreaming and playing, for exploring the beauty and riches of the natural world. They will be an idyll for walking and swimming and flying with animals, for sharing our humanity and energy and imagination with each other, for fucking in sheepskins beneath a southern sky.

The islands will be a jewel in the navel of a Surrealist map of the world.

Surrealist Group of Río de la Plata:
Mariela Arzadun, Celia Gourinsky, Mónica Marchesky, Juan Carlos Otaño, Leandro Ramírez, Ñancu Rupay

SLAG ~ Surrealist London Action Group:
Debbie Shaw, Josie Malinowski, Merl, Nacho Díaz Vazquez, Patrick Hourihan, Paul Cowdell, Stephen Maddison

in collaboration with our friend and comrade Oscar McLennan, Surrealist ambassador of both Scotland and Ireland


Results of a game played by SLAG
and the Surrealist Group of Río de la Plata

Spanish version: click here.

What the unidentified object says:

I say that I am an animal with a smooth body, with three characteristics unique in the animal world by which I can be identified:

• A muscular foot
• A bullet-proof vest
• An organ to feed with, called a mouth

My man's foot is the size of a moribund sole, errant, cast aside. My man's foot is the size of a star. My man's foot is the origin of all knowledge.

My bullet-proof jacket is a second skin, leaning up close against my bones like a nightmare.

My mouth is a nail painted with the colours of the flag, with the colours of a massacre. When it screams, it's as if a thousand fireworks have exploded on a golf course.

What the ear wearing a hearing aid says:

I say that I'm a cuckoo clock of the springtimes of the eternal glaciers. The inside of my auricle, a sofa in the style of Louis XV, encloses a workshop making frames for pictures containing a multitude of gods, workers and gnomes. In times of peace they work to distinguish between a Beethoven sonata, a “Tyrollean air” a “Scottish air”, an “allegro ma non troppo” or an “andante cantabile”. Today, under a cloud of dust, they are flattened against the wall of the cartilage.

What an amalgam of splinters, earth, and slices of a young lad says:

I say that I am a creation suspended and supported by mud which is textured with boot leather. The essential components of my harmonic being are:

• A torn penis which still hasn't shrunk.
• A hand which still clutches the assigned weapon.
• A pancreas covered in earth and dust, which lives and breathes in the open air.

My penis gyrates (perhaps blown by the wind) in between the perforated helmets and pieces of broken rooftops.

My hand still maintains its sense of balance in the middle of the smoke.

My pancreas is an offering of food to the most needy of birds.

What the nose says:

I am the remains of the euphoria of a few rivals, fed on a diet of pig and oats, and whose ideas were very conceited, so full of themselves in fact that they exploded in the form of flags.

I say that I'm a rigid plaque starched by the cry of terror which sprouts wings. I travel in the velocity of the wall which divides the world. Just like a bullet I splinter inside the hearts of the children.

Inside my skin all the sects and obscenities are investigated.

I wear a hairclip which adheres to every crown when it shines, and seduces the Parliament like a casket filled with rubies and sacred prints.

They are not afraid of me, although I am small I know how to carry myself and my sword.

What the two spermatozoids said to each other:

Hola che, como te va?
Sorry old chap, don't speak the Lingo.
Ah, you are English. How is your Queen? Is she still on your pound note?
She is, and always will be, God save her.
It's good she is keeping well, good health matters. Fucking cold here, no? Turn your balls into brass monkeys, eh?
I don't know that I care for your turn of phrase, but yes, it is a bit nippy in these parts.
So che, how did you get here?
Well my master, or donor if you like, to be honest we never had a very close relationship, he was of the officer class you know, stiff upper lip and all that. Well he had this thing about the flag, used to get him all excited, you know, first thing in the morning. Well this time round he got a little carried away, if you catch my drift, crack of dawn, a bit embarrassing really, got sort of tangled up in the rope, ended strung up on the flagpole, hoist by his own petard you might say, sowing his seed on stony ground. And as one proverb leads to another, and all my siblings seemed to have drowned in the mud, here I am, all on my tod.
So he died a hero. No?
After a fashion, I suppose, yes, at least a patriot.
My father, hey I call him my father, because he did give me life after all, but he was only a boy, nineteen years old, from the country, the sticks I think you call him; well he didn't know much about anything anyway, only that he thought his country needed him, but what he really needed was his Juanita, and he was playing with his own flagpole, you know, thinking about her with no clothes on, and it was as if the National Anthem had reached a crescendo, and she was his country, when Bang, big fucking bomb landed right on his head; and here I am, all that remains of him.
It does make you think doesn't it.
Hey your group, the Beatles, did they not write a song about this?
A Day in the Life?
No it went something like - I am he as we are he as he are me as we are all together.
I am the Walrus.
Yes, that's it, we are all the Walrus.
It does seem all a bit strange, now that our masters are gone. What are we supposed to do now?
We could always check out the local chicas.
A bit of helter skelper.
Porque no? There are worse places to be than inside a vagina.
You're right there my Argentinean friend, it might be wet, but at least it's warm.
Make love not war.
You know when I grow up I think I'd like to be a woman, explore my feminine side. It seems to me they are not so obsessed with their flagpoles.
Hey if I grow up to be a man, maybe we could get married, and have little Arglish children.
You know, I think I'd rather like that.

The two spermatozoids exit stage left, in a hurry to reach the pub before it closes at eleven, singing lustily:
All you need is love na na na na na.

What the button says:

I say that I am a sperm tossed out by the desire of a youngster with three legs. Found in a storm of luminous bushes and lost overcoats, where the words fed on flies hide themselves. Under my flesh there are broken clouds, and ideals reduced to a plastic bullet which penetrates the vaginas of the children, spick and span in front of the mirror. I say I am a dead book, but one which they have found.

What the letter which was never sent to the mother says (1):

I say that I am the fairy of the pleasures of incest. My leaf of Sphinx and origami flies always towards the sunset, towards the end of the world, in the lap of the Lamia. I am the last vestige which accompanies you at the extremities of existence. Sometimes you don't understand. I am with you right till the end, and sometimes you don't understand. When you lift you eyes over the steam of a coffee, or up from the arid pages of a book of fire, sometimes you forget and your grief is turned into a sweet lament.

What the letter which was never sent to the mother says (2):

Dear Mum,
The food is horrible and the atmosphere in the barracks disgusting. I have been trying to sleep for some nights but the thought of you and father waiting for me at home while I am combating at the front prevents me from falling asleep. So I masturbate – I know you weren’t keen on it at home, but there are such beautiful sunsets here and it seems only right. Last night I saw the stars of the Southern Cross catch light, and pass fire from star to star like a burning chain of barbed wire that might keep me safe from my own men. Mother, I am an onanist. Do not deny me this sole pleasure. I am sure that you will not deny me my lone desire. I assure you, I do not think of you. Take pleasure in this thought, if you cannot take pleasure in any other thought. But I am not pursuing this activity in an idle or self-indulgent way: with each passing night I am more and more certain that some form of cosmic communication is taking place when I lay hands on myself. My semen is the quintessence, the fifth element that runs along the edges of the emerald tablet. And so rejoice in the thought of my every lonesome tossing, and while you do, go fuck yourself, beloved mother, you wretched hag, reclining on the draylon, cosseted by central heating. Screw your incestuous courage up and face your loathsome countenance. I came across the seas to escape your clammy embrace and am still not free of you. Tomorrow night I die on this blasted rock but tonight I’m ecstatic in my hatred. Oh! Here it comes, in all its dirty transcendence. Adieu!

What the heels facing skyward say:

It’s cold out in the middle of the night. The rain is falling and I can feel it above me. The sky is dark and all I can hear is the sheep.

What the scalp says:

Scummy, scrumpled, ruined, bloodied, soiled and wasted. Follicles ripped, skin clinging to fragments of bone. Not the glorious shiny pate of baldness I had planned. Not the receding temples and flecking grey, not the peeling scabby eczema or the wispy comb-over. No drying, shrivelled rot.

What the tattoo says:

I love Gerry and with my pretty tentacles I call down the sun to heal his torn heart. I dream of the phosphorescent glow of the cordite in his sweat, and I will count and bind his ribs, as his bullets tear into my flesh and putrefy my organs.

What the albatross says (1):

I am in the sea, shining with the ministrations of porpoises. Gunboats are circling, but I flash gold and white, streaming and bold with a courage I hadn’t noticed before. What’s that glimmer over there? I like things of a shiny nature. Perhaps I ought to investigate. Ow.

What the albatross says (2):

I have one wingtip on the mainland’s shore, and one on the island, and I will accept no blame for the bad luck at my feet.

What the gun says:

Stand up and fight, you coward. Dropping dead on me just like that!

What the gun says and what the prostate says (in unison):
Limbless and eyeless, my uncharged beauty lies abandoned in the mud whose oily darkness mirrors my own. I am the esoteric factotum whose pyre died unlit.

What the hat says:

Damn! That one was close. One of these days I’m gonna fit proper and good. No more sweat, no more lice, no more … but fuck it. I’m gonna fit on some bastard, see if I don’t.

What the cigarette packet says:

And I cannot get a light.

What the photograph of the girlfriend in the pocket of the uniform says:

I say that I am the letter of longing that slides between stiff clothing. I maintain an ability to camouflage myself in the mouth of the dead. But I await an unexpected bite or reflex action that will render me asunder into a glorious star of whim and fantasy. For then there will be different explosions and problems.

What the head says:

I say that I am a container of bones, openly on offer like a strange plate of ice cream. The broken ice of the morning, holds in place the bubbles rising from my inner being. I am the desert for the lieutenants and the filthy savage children.

What the crucifix says:

I say I am an insect chewing a melon watered by a grandmother.
I say I am the crucifix of a brass little man in the midle of him, one which before to take a trip to here, this island makes think in a mattress of pure foam and sacred lust. Island that now have the color of all the children toys piled after of blood transfusion.
Yes, I say I can smell the back young spine mixed up with the meat of roots of trees, thrusted between the heart and a patriotic song.
I say that they found me later on a lot of years of get up early without skin where lie down and rub off and polish me.
Now I hide me inside of an oxided itch and sulfur of funereal gravestone.
But it is for a short time.
I perfume me with the viscera of the dead slaves between rifles and lawyer smiles. They harden the decoration of my future shroud. With it I will can bless the forehead of the most illustrious old men and diagnose the crime society.
With this sign they could name me: for who don't take flowers to this grave, we exchange a clock by his hairedressers.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Liver and Lights

Lungs and heart, sweetmeats to accompany the brains you find
by Paul Cowdell

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

DREAMS by Alexandre Fatta

We might think like Joseph Beuys that “everyone is an artist” or like Lautréamont that “poetry must be made by all”. But it’s a matter of fact that everyone dreams and that, consequently, everyone generates symbols. Access to irrational symbols is therefore universal. That’s why it seems strange, even laughable, that most people, probably you yourselves, can live their whole lives without attempting to understand these symbols and thus understand the meaning of their own lives and, by extension, of human life.

Let’s pose the question: does Man want to see? Individuals take stock of everything they encounter in the external world, measuring and quantifying it, so as to liberate themselves from it. In my view they should rather be taking stock of everything they encounter in their internal world, interpreting and describing it so as to re-integrate it and live in harmony with both worlds, between the “communicating vessels”.

In a world which, by all manner of means – religion, media, school – alienates the individual from him- or herself, the most emancipatory, the most explosively subversive gesture is quite simply to record one’s dreams on waking, to keep a daily journal of them, to date, annotate and compare them … You don’t have the time? It’s up to you to take it. You live in a “rich country”, the welfare system is still in place and ready to serve the noblest of causes: the dream. A life of poverty or a living death? I’ve made my choice. You don’t dream very often? Wrong. You dream every night. But your daily preoccupations, professional or otherwise, with the external world don’t allow you to remember your oneiric adventures. You need only to focus your attention during the first moments of wakefulness, to follow the thread of your thoughts, and immediately some elements of the dream will emerge, sometimes even the whole dream. This exercise, if repeated every morning, will bear fruits which can even become excessive: in my case, after several months of sustained attention, the dreams came fast and furious, as many as three or four very long dreams a night or even more. Then you will know the fatigue of the oneiroscopist, the nocturnal gleaner (since you must record the dreams on waking) and when morning comes you will have so much work to do in transcribing the “fair copy” into your journal that you will soon have to leave your job, abandon your studies, or at least stop merely surviving so that you can plunge yourself more and more deeply into life itself, life at its most symbolic and meaningful.

If, as C.G. Jung thought, as we think, dreams transform us, then I am speaking here of a philosophy of transformation akin to that of the alchemists or, more familiarly, of the surrealists. All the things that serve to prevent this transformation from taking place in every human being will soon be unable to suppress the revolt which has been building up in this way for centuries.

Excerpted from Alexandre Fatta (2006) “En guise de presentation”, Terre Gaste, issue 1.
Originally written by Alexandre Fatta and read by David Nadeau at an exhibition of their collages, 8th May 2005.
Translated by Merl.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Sunday, June 10, 2007


Since the beginning of the movement, insults have been a means of expression to which surrealists have had frequent recourse, cheerfully flouting the generally accepted rules of “good conduct” and “proper debate”. If they were not the first to conduct themselves in this manner – some dadaists, including Arthur Cravan, were past masters of it – it is undoubtedly they who have systematised this form of behaviour and given it a precise meaning: that of an ideological weapon, a violence justified by the revolutionary character of the project which the movement has included in its agenda. According to Breton himself, the surrealist practice of the insult has been equally influenced by a “good part of revolutionary literature” in the Marxist tradition, including certain works by Marx and Lenin (The Poverty of Philosophy, Materialism and Empirio-Criticism). Furthermore, in its irrationality the insult is connected to the proceedings which the surrealists have launched against rationalist humanism, as well as to their wish to abolish the barrier separating feeling from conceptual thought.

Apart from articles, polemical texts, letters and, especially, tracts – a form particularly favoured by surrealists – their taste for insults is equally demonstrated in some fundamental texts (Breton, Second Surrealist Manifesto, 1930; Aragon, Treatise on Style, 1928), as well as in several poetic works, of which Benjamin Peret’s I Don’t Eat That Bread (1932) remains the finest specimen. Whatever the context, moreover, the effectiveness of the insult, for the surrealists, always comes from the skill with which they deploy the resources of metaphor. As for their choice of target, it is certainly not limited to external enemies: insults are frequently employed with the same violence in controversies among surrealists themselves, such as during the crisis at the end of the 1920s, the documents from which, notably the Second Surrealist Manifesto and the second pamphlet A Corpse, contain attacks which rank among the most virulent in the whole history of the movement.

Petr Kral

in Adam Biro & René Passeron (1982) eds, Dictionnaire général du Surréalisme et de ses environs, Presses Universitaires de France

For a Spanish version of this article, click here.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Urban Legends

... and all the time she can hear this banging on the roof of the car, and the policeman's saying "Just get out and walk towards me, and whatever you do don't look back" ...
by Paul Cowdell

Thursday, June 07, 2007

In Praise of The Beautiful Game

Finland 2 Belgium 0
... and the crowd roared his every turn ...


Josie, Merl, Nacho, Paul & Stephen
Tuesday 5th June

Monday, June 04, 2007

Jordan is a hard road to travel I've been told

And the Medway is a hard river to cross
for Gideon
by Paul Cowdell

Sunday, June 03, 2007


We have long known that any sense of measure, for opportunistic reasons, in our long opposition to the outside world will only backfire on us. This is why we want to link our historical revolutionary position to our revolutionary position against nature, thus favourably re-establishing the necessary relationship between desire and the universe, considered from a cosmological point of view.

Now more than ever we realise that any class revolution must be concretely mirrored by a revolution against nature.


The necessity to discover the love which, unhindered, might overthrow social and natural obstacles leads us to a non-Oedipal position. The existence of birth traumas and Oedipal complexes, revealed by Freudian theory, constitutes the natural and mnemonic limits, the unfavourable unconscious wrinkles, which, unbeknownst to us, control our attitude towards the outside world. We have formulated the problem of the complete release of man (Gherasim Luca, L'Inventeur de l'amour), adding as its condition the destruction of our initial Oedipal position.

Thanks to the revolutionary movements, the situation of the father has been soundly shaken, as much in its direct as in its symbolic forms. But the castrating vestiges of birth traumas nonetheless still persist within them, supported moreover by the favourable position of brotherhood maintained by political movements; this too is simply one of the forms covered by the initial complexes.

The painful defeats of love, all tainted by romantic idealism and humanity's incapacity to objectivise itself, find their first form in the mnemonic fixity of the mother and in the primitive other we carry within us.

The qualitative transformation of love into a general revolutionary method, and the possibility of going beyond the unconscious image of love in one giant leap, are prevented by this primordial theoretical defeat maintained within us by the Oedipal position. Freed of the mortal anguish acquired at birth, freed of the limitations of complexes deriving from our unconscious Oedipal attitude, we are finally trying to find the specific paths of our liberation and to go beyond the "endless cycle" implied by our erotic attitudes in their biological or psychic forms.

Considered in the light of a non-Oedipal position, the existing states of love are merely stages we must cross, and the concrete absurdity of objective love can only be unleashed by this imperious Hegelian negation, turned aphrodisiac to the point of paroxysm.

The necessities of revolution require the non-Oedipal attitude to be extended on a general level relating to the infra-psychic situation of revolutionaries in their immediate struggle.

Excerpted from "The Dialectic of the Dialectic"
Gherasim Luca & Trost, Bucharest, 1945

in Michael Richardson & Krzysztof Fijałkowski (2001) eds, Surrealism Against the Current: Tracts & Declarations, Pluto Press

Saturday, June 02, 2007

GENESIS IN THE RETORT: Saturday 16th June

On Saturday 16th April, SLAG regulars and friends will be meeting in London to conduct experiments in the alchemy of the city.

For further details and/or to join us on the day, email us at the usual address.