Re: Surrealism for Dummies

Jagdish Bisa (jbisa@bbnplanet.com)
Fri, 07 Nov 1997 16:35:53 -0500


Sri Hari K Tadepalli gAru sheds some more light on the surreal:

> Here is another children's rhyme with hints of surrealism:
>
>         "# subbI gobbI
>         pouDaru DabbI
>         chiTTI poTTI
>         sigareT peTTI #"
>
> T. Hari Krishna

I think the above rhyme and those cited by Sri Vasu are designed for
'chanting'. Just like rhymes in any other language (e.g, 'Eenie Meanie
Meinie, Mo' ) filled with resonant sound devices to grab rhythmic
attention. I don't believe they're surreal.

[ adequate and reasonable definitions of surrealism deleted ]

Nothing makes me more aware of surrealism in contemporary art  than the
work of art director/production designer H.R.Giger in the movie 'ALIEN'
(the first part).  It looks as if he's consciously trying to undermine
the sexism in Freud by contrasting a feminist theme (of the script) to
the Freudian symbology in his production design.  I saw this movie like
a dozen times only to understand what the heck he was upto. Much of the
film's visual elements reflect male fears of female sexuality:  It's
obvious by looking at the orifices of the alien spaceship and the labial
mouth of the alien itself that they're *intentionally designed like
that. From mother's (the computer) inability to protect the crew from
the alien, to the ghastly image of Kane (John Hurt) giving 'birth': the
film is filled with male fears of female sexuality.  A Freud fest. But
set against this,  is the extraordinary character of Ripley (Sigourney
Weaver), who is independent of , and indeed threatening to, the men
around her. She's probably SF cinema's most feminist portrait of a
woman: very smart, very competent, very independent. Such a contrast of
theme and the backdrop digs into the viewer's subconcious and
manipulates giving rise to the 'surreal' fealing.  Neither the theme nor
H.R. Giger's
art can be considered 'surreal' independently.

I tried to produce a piece of surreal 'automatic writing', by _cheating_
of course, a couple of years ago on
SCIT when I had a fight with Sri Suresh Kolichala regarding the
definition of 'Stream of Consciousness' (SoC).
Even though I had cheated in there, by consciously juxtaposing
previously written seperate passages, I believe
it gives that 'surreal' effect. But then, I could be wrong.

It's being posted seperately. Pardon me for posting it. I think it's
appropriate, given the context of this thread.
Please let me know what you think of it.

-Jagdish ( SoCerer! ) Bisa