Sunday, August 24, 2014

Responses to an Enquiry on Love from the Paris Group of the Surrealist Movement

Dear friends

Our enquiry continues, its aim being to clarify what the Surrealist spirit might mean in today’s world.

After liberty, and before we turn to poetry, it is love that we are ‘putting into question’. The word love has many meanings, from the most trivial to the most mystical; we take it here to refer to the emotion that affects two sexed individuals and conjures their desire.

1- Rimbaud alludes to a Prince who foresaw ‘astonishing revolutions of love’ (Illuminations, ‘Tale’).
Does it seem to you that these revolutions have taken place?

2- Do you think that love, as a concept or a practice, has a subversive power?

3- Do you believe that we can only love one person in the course of a lifetime, and if so, is that person in some way ‘predestined’ for us?
How do you see your understanding of love changing over time?

Patrick Hourihan

Once again I find myself confused about the intended audience for this enquiry. Are we, again, attempting to reassure ourselves by repeating a litany of ‘correct’ answers? Yet what could be more hostile to the spirit of love and its unbridling than that?

In this case, it seems that the enquiry has deliberately placed things back-to-front. This is love in the dark, two people waiting on opposite sides of different glory holes. The limitations of the enquiry become more apparent if we address its concerns in reverse order.

The formulation about loving only one person in the course of a lifetime is a straw man, or, if you prefer, a straw inflatable doll. Perhaps it is meant to contain a genuine question about the intensity of love and the realities of overwhelming passion, but … it has conflated this with something quite inimical to that intensity and those passions. Love is a nakedness, a feeling of having been turned inside out and of wearing viscera for skin, but this question has provided it with a respectable bourgeois suit and a wedding invitation. It would, as the English idiom has it, ‘make an honest woman’ of this most ungentlewomanly of sensations. And who would want that? Who would want to turn love into the most stultifyingly stifling of respectable prisons designed for it by those most terrified of its effects?

Love is a shattering, crushing of the physical being, an invasion of every sensation that wreaks a destructive and wonderful change on the fabric it possesses, with a corresponding mental upheaval. This question accidentally reduces this physical, material devastation to a platonic ideal.

The answer is ‘no’ on more than one front.

You love. Does that mean your love is confined, restricted? Of course your love in that particular instance remains true forever. If you genuinely love, at any time, then that love remains a fact, even where it is over and has turned to hate. You still love. If that love doesn’t remain true then it wasn’t love. So you may still love an experience that is finished at the same time as you love the person who now shares your life, even as you retain the potential to love again.

Love is not, and will not be, confined or constrained or curtailed. You can be with your life partner, sharing a love that defies and is beyond anything you have ever experienced before – does this mean that it has exhausted your capacity to love? Does it mean that you cannot continue to love, cannot love anew? Does it mean that your love for and with that one person is only the completed love of an earlier moment? That you’re just waiting for the real thing so you can put it away as a finished experience?

If you love one person, now, who is your whole love and life (even taking into account the realities of earlier loves), love does not become some passively experienced state. It is not, cannot ever be, enough just to say ‘I love x’: love must be a continuous process of self-destruction, exchange and invention.

Perhaps the question is designed to elicit this kind of critical reaction, but it seems an odd way of pursuing the investigation. It requires the respondent to start from anywhere but the beginning. Rather than starting with any discussion of what love actually is or might be, it begins from a tiresome Victorian version of romantic love. Polyamorists, for example, would have to begin not from any account of love itself but by dismantling the monogamous model already placed as an obstacle in their way.

Where is the wildness of love in all this? The problem is that the question presents love as either an empirical event or as an ideal, while love breathes continually as an ever-changing process.

It seems that the question of predestination ‘in some way’ is intended to cover this aspect of love, the place of chance in the formation of love. Unfortunately, its presentation here just gives the impression of being thicker icing on the poisoned wedding cake.

Reciprocated love (and unreciprocated love may also be just as real an experience of the state, although it seems largely excluded from this presentation) is based on certain real physical conditions. I am not talking here simply about sexual relations, although these are also involved in what I am describing: rather, I mean that reciprocated love involves a relationship that takes place within specific physical environments, whatever variations are accommodated within that.

This is, I think, the distinction between chance and destiny. Chance proceeds from the more-or-less accidental interplay of elements within that environment. In the presentation of some sort of romanticised ideal version of love, talk of ‘predestination’ runs the risk (however unintentionally) of removing it from that environment and the processes involved.

Love is not some abstracted ideal state that can be closed off, it is a permanent transformation of the here and now that must be continuously fought and explored. It is a maelstrom into which we walk with some deliberateness, even though its effects and impact must then always be new and surprising.

This also answers the enquiry’s question about how my understanding of love has changed over time. The effort to seize and understand the meanings of these emotional, reactive and unconscious states has moved me away, I hope, from any such mysticised and dull views of love.

This openness to the possibility, this investigation of the experience and sensation, in turn addresses question 2. Love is an expression of the constant subversion of the self and its surrounds, but that requires a commitment to exploring its impact, a devotion to its continued subversion. Walk into it, walk in, it will efface you and negate you and remake you and destroy you, walk in with open eyes, and you will make it efface you and negate you and remake you and destroy you.

And this, it seems, is the problem with the first question, with its unduly harsh invocation of Rimbaud as an alibi for something he is apparently disputing. The question, which poses love in a static, empirical manner, denies the possibility of love as a consuming process of a continued dialectical present tense.

Answering ‘yes’ to this question would be a concession to complacency, as such an answer would imply exactly the kind of completion that love precludes. Answering ‘yes’ would indicate a denial of the possibility of love, and a resistance to love.

The question treats love as a potentially resolvable and completable state. Love must always be now because it will always change now. 

Paul Cowdell

Love dives in down the inguinal crease, bursts open like a mercenary, open as a dogrose



                        cascades beads over the threshold, then drops like a stone through the accelerating floor.

My true love rides a live carpet of eels, smacks his strawberry on the horizon, eats centaurs, pisses suns, and drowns the city in clouds of racing.

Fathoms below starfight we lie, flensing the skin from night’s barricades.

Run along with your silly little questions. We can’t hear them above the noise of coral igniting.

Merl Fluin

Paul Day

Meditación del Amor

Porque gravedad…

Entender Noticias
Aprender Malora
Pero despues de todos los impuestos,
Quiero decir que juventud tiene buen
precio y no se
tira en un posición. fetal.

¡Chupe, chupame!

Por favor, dejame verte
en tu
peluca maravillosa
Y ven (ve) con todas las máscara del diablo/

¡Quítala! ¡Quítala!

Ya te dije…
Los demonios no
saben de donde se conforman,
De donde llegan las
almas caras.

Pero no te preocupes.
No es tu pedo.
A ella, pues
Le vale verga todo el pinche maldito

- Lárgate de este mundo a otra galaxia conmigo.

Because gravity…

Understand News
Learn Joker
But after all the taxes,
I mean, youth has a good
price and you can’t 
shoot it in a foetal position.

Suck, suck me!

Please let me see you
in your
wonderful hairpiece
And come (see) with all the masks of the devil /

Remove her! Remove her!

I told you so…
Demons, they do not
know from where they form,
From where the
expensive souls come.

But do not worry.
It is not your problem.
And her, well
it’s not worth a damn fuck, this cunting

- Get out of this world and come to another galaxy with me.
Wendy Risteska

Swirling spiders stronger still; the edge of reality too to rise

It is! It is.


Swirling spiders in empty chambers, empty of the whispering sycophants, who were here in their unctuous ooze-pus.


It is stronger still than the sweetest swell, a spider’s thread weaving the covering for its chamber bed. It is asleep, don’t breathe. It sleeps, don’t wake it. It dreams.


It is on the edge of reality, recoiling to rise again.


It is too furious for you.

Don’t ask me who I can love. What ‘can’? Who’s going to allow me, who stop me? I might even love you, and then you’ll be sorry. Love your silver nightmare and your broken amulet.

Burn a hole in my skin to the bone.


Absurdity. Love laughs at you. Love the vicious cunt, the roaring monstrous head, the death whilst orgasming, the frothy spit on a face running down, the cum between my legs running down.


An infinitesimally small super massive black hole right in front of your eye. You fall into it, now. Go on, fall.


Love can fuck itself, and does, endlessly, choking and laughing and crying and fucking itself, running amok with its mother’s shoes, giggling, causing havoc in red shoes.


Don’t put it on the fucking table. I just made that table. I don’t want your love coming in here and fucking it up. I have to eat off that table.


Elva Jozef

Collective assemblage made by Paul Cowdell, Paul Day, Merl Fluin, Elva Jozef 
and Kirsty Woods in response to the enquiry

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Phrenology Game

July’s game in the What Will Be almanac was “The Phrenology Game”.

The game is described thus:

Take the template of the [phrenologically] numbered skull, and place this template over a map of any scale.

Look up the numbered correspondences then find anything that may relate to the numbered personality trait.

We had had some discussion of the game before playing. There was a risk with this game that the search for analogies between the phrenology chart and the map might just be an exercise in literal correspondence, which would contain little revelatory or poetic interest. Using the phrenology chart as a premonitory or divinatory tool seemed potentially more fruitful.

We placed our phrenology chart over a map and then walked the area searching for clues to the meaning of the phrenological zones. Having assembled our findings we then reinterpreted the phrenology chart accordingly.

As we began our exploration we found evidence that we were on the right track.

Below are selected findings for each zone, with our interpretation. The original interpretation is in square brackets.

6          Bridge Strike
Interpretation: Courage [Destructiveness]

7          Armchair
            ‘imbecile heureux’
            Patriot Square
            A part-rusted circuit board and a chimney
Interpretation: Technical Incompetence [Secretiveness]

8          A white tulip
Interpretation: Purity [Acquisitiveness]

9          Flying ants
            Block H
Interpretation: Liberty [Constructiveness]

12       Cataracts eye dirty windows
            Cool Hand Luke
            Sell Your Liver
Interpretation: Health [Cautiousness]

28       Registered New Invention
            Four wheels on base
Interpretation: Stability [Number]

The game seems to require a further stage. One possibility would be to use these newly identified zones of meaning to interpret the skulls of the players.

PC's zone of Technical Incompetence

Patrick, Paul C

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Patricide: A Correction

It's come (a bit belatedly) to our attention that the final text of the collection What Will Be contains a small but significant factual error about our group.

The final page of our friend Miguel Pérez Corrales's essay "Fifty Years Of Surrealism", which introduces the wonderfully detailed chronology of the movement included at the end of the book, refers to "le groupe SLAG et sa revue Patricide" (the SLAG group and its periodical Patricide). The error might be no more than a typo: "sa revue" (its periodical) should read "la revue" (the periodical).

To clear up any confusion: we are not involved in any way in the production of Patricide, a publication which we regard with ambivalence at best (and downright hostility at worst).