Sunday, July 28, 2013

Collective poem

Smiling baboons are greeting each other coldly and politely.

Swiss smart pants are impossible to live with.

My friends, who are all dead, are blazing in the obscurity of strangers.

400 warriors are foraging for lost beetles.

Jars of apricot jam are hanging by their hair from the trees.

A gathering of horses are really quite pretty.

Milky stars are giggling furiously.

A collection of disjointed limbs are my best friends; ok, you too.

The outer edges of the universe are pink and busy shaving.

A holy swirl of jackanapes are of enormous vorage.

Dead or alive, all inhabitants are away on a tantrum.

A pile of fake banknotes are eating my brain.

Sleepy horses are changing the subject, constantly.

Ferocious leaves are in the middle of the swamp.

Entangled limbs are kissing violets in the garden.

Spinning apes are in a hurry for dumplings.

Surrealists are not present; who knows if still alive?

The biting fish are amongst the stones.

Drunk tennis players are squealing like fish.

All the snails on the seashore are hiding on the balcony.

My regiment are asleep on sofas.

A hundred silver fishes are awash.

A secret gathering of roaches are immaculate in their self-presentation.

Discontented spirits are inevitable.

Seventeen angry camels are forgetting how to speak.

Josie, Mattias, Merl, Patrick, Paul, Sandra

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Mysteries of the Red Planet: Pareidolia Game

After an afternoon of experiments with milk and food dye during our private view, we were left with a red-stained biscuit tin lid.

We stuck the lid to the gallery wall, and it became the basis of a new game that we played with our visitors throughout the rest of the week.


 Mr Punch giving birth to his own face while eating a strawberry.

A brain.


What was left behind after lifting up the bag of strawberries.

A silhouette of Darwin with a ram's head coming out of the back of it.

Bubble worm!



I'm not sure?

3 children, one with a sausage for a head.

A skull/a castle with a long pink corridor.

Period blood.

Guilty conscience.

Oil on water.

A cat's face with an enormous wig.


Those angry Cs of piranha curves, that fit and yet desist, the warring of the same, the wave of bloody mist.

A portrait of Sade:

Friday, July 19, 2013

Mysteries of the Red Planet: This is Not for You

The following text is being distributed to visitors to our current exhibition, Mysteries of the Red Planet.

THIS IS NOT AN ART SHOW, AND WE DIDNT MAKE IT FOR YOU. The images and objects on display are the results of some of our recent experiments in automatism, trance-work and mediumistic communication. Some of them were made with the help of a planchette, a small board mounted on rollers and fitted with a pen or pencil that works on the same principle as a Ouija board. Many others are the results of ‘exquisite corpse’, a Surrealist game in which each player makes part of a drawing, hides it by folding the paper, and then passes it on for the next player to continue the drawing without seeing what’s already on the page. Still others were produced in states of trance, delirium or automatism, either collectively by the whole group, or by individual members working alone. Above all, they are not artworks, and we are not artists. We haven’t put these things into an exhibition for you to contemplate and admire. We’re presenting them here as evidence from our explorations of the unknown – of the other worlds to which Surrealism seeks access.

For some visitors, what they see here might not be what they had expected. The word ‘Surrealism’ often gets hijacked as a kind of brand name for particular styles of art, especially fantasy art. We have no interest in that kind of material. Genuine Surrealism, as it has been practised by the international Surrealist movement from the 1920s to the present day, is not about a particular aesthetic style or content. It’s a desperate, furious attempt to reinvent the whole world simultaneously: both the inner world of the psyche, and the outer world of society and history. In the words of the Second Surrealist Manifesto (1930):

Everything tends to make us believe that there exists a certain point of the mind at which life and death, the real and the imagined, past and future, the communicable and the incommunicable, high and low, cease to be perceived as contradictions. Now, search as one may one will never find any other motivating force in the activities of the Surrealists than the hope of finding and fixing this point.

People’s most burning inner desires – for freedom, love, pleasure, life – seem to be forever in conflict with the outer demands of reality – law, work, basic survival. The goal of Surrealism is to overcome that conflict, not by handing victory to one side or the other, but by transforming both. By deliberately bringing the inner and outer worlds into collision, smashing them into each other with great energy at high speed, we aim to bring about a kind of nuclear fusion through which new worlds will be created.

The best and only tool we can use to do this is the imagination, because only our imagination can point us away from the world as it is towards the possibilities for the world as it can be (as it must be, since it’s becoming increasingly obvious that humanity simply can’t go on like this). And since the creation of this new world requires the transformation of the individual psyche as well as of external society, Surrealists place an especially heavy emphasis on the collective imagination as a way of opening up our own minds to other possibilities too. A Surrealist group is a kind of laboratory for experimenting with other realities.

Delirium, trance and automatism are some of the most effective methods we know for unleashing the imagination and smashing the inner and outer worlds together, and they’re especially powerful when they’re practised collectively. Other essential methods involve the exploration of dreams, chance and encounters with magical objects, and as a group we use those too, although we have not emphasised them so strongly here. All of these methods are both easier and harder to use than they sound: they require that mixture of seriousness and frivolity, discipline and abandonment, that is peculiar to play, and that many adults feel inhibited about entering. But in principle they are open to everybody, and during this show we want to put that principle into practice. 

That’s why we are inviting you to make your own automatic works (drawing, writing or modelling), using materials we have provided or that you bring with you, and add them to the show. We’re also inviting you to join us to play Surrealist games on Tuesday evening at 7.30pm: games are an especially good way to overcome your inhibitions and get into the automatic ‘headspace’ if you have never practised automatism before, or have only done so alone rather than collectively. Above all we’re inviting you to start inventing new worlds with us. This is not an art show, and it is not for you. It’s by you. 

The exhibition closes at 6pm today. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Mysteries of the Red Planet: the Objects Speak

One of the games at last night's event for the Mysteries of the Red Planet exhibition resulted in a collective poem, co-written on the spot by all the exhibition visitors and then performed by SLAG as part of a poetry reading at the end of the evening.

Each visitor (and SLAG member) was given an object at the beginning of the evening and told to hold onto it. At the end of the evening, we all then wrote down the message – a sentence or phrase – our object had given us. This was the resulting poem:

This tiny mirror has told me it is a time-travelling object that allows the user to escape to their past lives
The future unknown
I am your familiar and I want to be loved, but I am too hot for comfort
Form arises largely due to the imprecisions of lines
Don’t trust a hairdresser in this margarine bake
A piece of magical hair, once buried at sea and really, really rusted …
General strike now!!
My naked soles of fangs and claws, my contagious footprints, and that’s why they kept me hanging, halfway down the well so heavy and full of sleep
The warrior from the past looks sideways and sees a future moon in the sky
By the water glue was abundant and coloured
My eyes burn like the soles of my feet
Look I’m not pretty, I’m a bit complicated and I never seem glamorous to others who don’t know what I am for. To those who know and understand what I am about – they get it! The others, the ones who don’t know, just can’t figure me out. It would be great if they thought I was at least mysterious – but mostly they just think I am junk
A palming calming hollow bleed will exit the place
This object is the last remaining piece of an ancient beast with magical properties
You are complete, and you always will be. But you are really, really filthy
How the two – tries to bike – with their chased bodywheel
My biomechanical limbs need no sustenance, but they won’t bleed without the servo
I float like a compass in the waters of the skull
A series of elements in extended and continued connection, bent, fraying, clipped and polished. Slightly filthy
As a shell of a person, mystery, friend stayed close
Bones shown on a screen, especially where the ribcage parts look like butterflies or rafters in a cathedral

The exhibition continues until Friday 19 July.