Tourist Trap (1979) – Jason Abdelhadi

Automatic response after watching the film Tourist Trap (1979) 

Yes the broken manikin is the ending, this is a film about endings like all mannequins are in fact over and done with humans (wait, who with whom?) Discarded mentality is what this flurry of axes with makeup, how their lovely mouths flip open with a beautiful OOO like some gorgeous doo-wop band made-up  of only dummies. And what a turnover rate, couldn’t help but admire the snakes that live in sacred pool, a glorious snake dance, “water moccasins” you can slip on and off like quality footwear. My snake-dance in Ventnor. GAS AND EATS is all you need. But they laugh so much, and the pressure is on when the “funny” music happens. The chaotic man in the top hat and the Elvis mask, I need to ask, is he a Resident? Into the coast of the mind, there are only inland oases, the long and beautiful woodpanelled dummy museum that screeches with happiness. What a totality, the manikin or homunculus turns out to be when it puts on a mask. I don’t believe in the sanctity of marriage but when it leads to orgies this good I can’t help but wonder if monogamy requires inanimate intermediates. But is it fair, after the ending, to call manikins inanimate? No, they are halting in their animation, fixated, but they have somewhere to be and something to do. I am so pleased she drove off with the manikins of her friends. I wonder if I could keep sangfroid when I get cake mix smeared on my face and then am told its plaster. It’s worth dying for certain aesthetic variations on the orgasm. It’s not a movie where expression means much. He sounded like a cartoon Klondike gold miner. And in the masked form, like Randy Rose. It’s glorious to combine manikins and masks and make them into conspirators together, against the holiday. We stopped for gas? Gas? We found the sacred grove where the Pythia (who is nothing but a strange old hag of a prediction machine, a gas masikin, who breathes out futures like murders).

There is a space where we wonder how quickly the murders actually begin. I thought it was setting the scene but that first attack on the schmuck, that was the scene. How gratuitous the manikins who laugh, and overabundance of them. Being smothered by manikins—yes, now I remember where I’ve seen it before: my friend Lake made a fantastic painting of a ladyboy awakening in just such a pile of manikins.

Perhaps we don’t need to die. We are not Norman Bates. We are not trying to recreate heteronormative family relations and patriarchal systems with our baskets and baskets of limbs. The swirling ballet of live-actors and manikins interchange, making all that is solid melt into plaster. It’s great to end life with an axe, but even better to hit the floor and scream laughing into the sunset.

A film with an abundance of charm. The snakes are the hidden stars. A snake with an abundance of harm. The mechanical automata aren’t, they are real actors. Much like Poe’s machine chess player. Exactly like it. (Meaning, even after all these years and iterations and romances with our dead-limbless cousins, we can’t get enough of them).

-Jason Abdelhadi, Sept 1 2018

By | 2018-09-03T15:34:06+00:00 September 3rd, 2018|Essay, Image|0 Comments

I Wagered Deep On The Run Of Six Rats To See Which Would Catch The First Fire

“Penelope Rosemont once said, “in a sense, all outsider art is surrealist art…” And this was the singular inspiration for this collection. Here, Surrealists are teamed with stalwarts of Fluxus, renegades that have no compass, as well as Outsiders who have rejected the false map of convention. “Be capable of the marvelous” was our call. “Write what you know is there, not merely what is obvious.” We wanted a return to those roots of Surrealism that were in the written word, its first manifestation. The page inhabited. There was no theme. There was only proof that, in spite of what some academics have said, Surrealism is not dead. Nor does a person have to be physically dead to be an “Outsider.”

It is our hope that we may produce a collection like this every year for as many years as we can. Not to rehash older, foundational works of Surrealism but to continue to provide a platform for the new material. Material that has never stopped being created even after the learned obituaries were falsely finalized. The latest manifestos as well as the continuing parade.”

Purchase Here

By | 2018-08-14T10:21:47+00:00 August 14th, 2018|News|0 Comments

Mariusze Figle

Mariusze Figle, a surrealist emergence from subcarpathian Poland. 

You can check out their blog here.

mushrooms-man on the bank of great water separating two black lands at the moment of vision

 

By | 2018-07-25T21:15:25+00:00 July 25th, 2018|Image, News|0 Comments

Revolutionary Imagination: Chicago Surrealism from Object to Activism

June 7-10, 2018

Revolutionary Imagination:
Chicago Surrealism from Object to Activism

Exhibitions, Film, History, Theory,
Manifestoes, Theater, Poetry, & Music …
at Various Locations in Chicago
Why Surrealism?
Why Chicago?
Why Now? Why Not?
Celebrating the 1968
Chicago Surrealist Protest
Show at 50 years!

1968: Object by Robert Green, poetry by
Franklin Rosemont (Barbara’s Bookstore window)

Thursday, June7, 2018

10am Panel:
Cochrane-Woods Art Center at 5540 S. Greenwood Avenue
Introduced and organized by Janine Mileaf (Arts Club of Chicago) and Jennifer Cohen (University of Chicago)

  • Michael Richardson (International Encyclopedia of Surrealism);
  • Kristoffer Nohenden (Surrealism, Cinema and the Search for a New Myth); Abigail Susik (Radical Dreams: Surrealism and Counter Culture);
  • Michael Stone-Richards (The Wreck of Art: Studies in the Thought of Guy Debord)
  • Moderated by Jennifer Wild (University of Chicago)

1pm: Tour of Smart Gallery
Bill Brown (University of Chicago), Ali Gass (Smart Gallery),
Christine Mehring (University Of Chicago)

3pm: Roundtable ( From the folks who brought you “Make Love, Not War!”)
Cochrane-Woods Art Center at 5540 S. Greenwood Avenue

  • Penelope Rosemont (Surrealist Women: An International Anthology)
  • Ron Sakolsky (Surrealist Subversions: Rants, Writings & Images by the Surrealist Movement in the United States)
  • Myrna Bell Rochester (René Crevel: le Pays des miroirs absolus)
  • Winston Smith (All Riot on the Western Front)
  • V. Vale (Pranks! Re/Search)
  • Moderated by Rebecca Zorach (The Passionate Triangle)

Friday, June 8
6pm: The Arts Club of Chicago at 201 East Ontario Street
Surrealist Salon: Mad poetry by Ron Sakolsky & Penelope Rosemont & Extraordinary Improv by the Neo-Futurists

Saturday, June 9
6pm: The Study Chicago at 1837 West Fulton Street
Film:  Marian Wallace,  V. Vale,  Tom Palazzolo
Music: Andy Alper, U Can Unlearn Guitar Band
Steve Smith & End Result Band

With the Participation or works of
Paul Garon, Beth Garon, Dennis Cunningham, Gale Ahrens, Franklin Rosemont, Rikki, Tamara Smith, Joel Williams, Ruti, Robert Green, Schlecter Duvall, Winston Smith, Joseph Jablonski & many more.

University of Chicago | Arts Club of Chicago | The Smart Gallery
The Study Chicago on Fulton

For more information:
artdesignchicago.org
arthistory.uchicago.edu/happenings/events/
dadachicago.com


Revolutionary Imagination: Chicago Surrealism from Object to Activism is part of Art Design Chicago, an initiative of the Terra Foundation for American Art exploring Chicago’s art and design legacy, with presenting partner The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.

By | 2018-05-04T02:20:25+00:00 May 4th, 2018|News|0 Comments

Fresh Dirt Surrealist Sympatica

http://www.fresh-dirt.us/

Fresh Dirt, the deep South’s newest artistic collective researching practicing Surrealism in the 21st Century, will host an exhibition & creative soire’ in May! The collective is an offspring of previous incarnations, it’s member’s having originated activities as early as 1974 in Tuscaloosa, infamously known as Raudelunas, out of which birthed the first Birmingham group, Glass Veal and free improvisation pioneers of TransMuseq.

As the artists groups continued, the group has reorganized in 2017 as Fresh Dirt and is actively pursuing to connect artists who are practicing surrealist methods, conceptual theories, and influences in the 21st century. Fresh Dirt is drawing together from the core group to artists in neighboring communities the first Alabama Surrealist Sympatica, an Exhibition and Creative Soire‘ to be hosted by Art Town at Eastlake Station.

Along with the visual exhibition of artworks, there will be Surrealist inspired performances by the South’s most potent improvisers in multi-disciplinary exploration involving dance, music, butoh, poetry, and community collective art projects in writing and drawing, and mixed-media.

Artists are coming from as far as Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia to collaborate and participate in the Fresh Dirt event. Many local artists are involved and participating in the Soire.’ The Alabama Surrealist Sympatica, an Exhibition and Creative Soire‘ will be attended by art historian, Steven Harris, University of Alberta, Canada who is writing a comprehensive history documenting Surrealism in the South (Alabama). The public is invited to experience Fresh Dirt, and participate in a Salon style evening of living art, imagination, discourse, and practicing methods of Surrealist Inquiry.

The reception will feature inedible food.

By | 2018-05-03T23:39:09+00:00 May 3rd, 2018|News|0 Comments

You are walking along a city street when you step on a pulsating mass of meat. What happens next?

LaDonna Smith: As I step on a mass of meat on the sidewalk, it sucks me right into it, like quicksand! I struggle to break through only to be seriously sinking. Before I know it, I am like treading water, but it is really wine! I am getting a little tipsy from the bouquet, and certainly a few accidental gulps. Delirium consumes me. I wake up laughing at my now pink clothing, and join the circus of fashion, but the runway becomes another fine slab of red meat. Exercise repeated. I credit my predilection to red wine on the sudden appearance of meat and my inability to escape its inevitable hold on me. I manage its avoidance by unforeseen appearance of nut crackers and indulgence in blue beer! Life is marvelous!

Richard Smiley: It is a boon. I pick up the pulsating mass of meat and eat it raw, because that is how I and the citizens of this city receive their sustenance: from the masses of meat that randomly fall from the sky only along this one street.

Tim White: I cry with joy and recognition. The meat is my soul. I pick it up, open my shirt, and shove it back into the hole where it belongs.

Tori Lion: It turns out that the fleshly lump is the beginning of a long, slimy esophagus that latches onto my foot, slurps up my entire body, and then deposits (or, perhaps, defecates) me in a labyrinth of pretzel-shaped catacombs lying underneath Toronto.

Brett Petersen: The mass of meat splinters into an army of teratoma soldiers and they jump into everybody’s mouths and convert their cells into cancerous matter. Before long, the whole world becomes cancer and in fact, planet earth itself becomes one giant teratoma.

By | 2018-04-30T02:30:37+00:00 April 30th, 2018|Games|0 Comments

Some Irrational Reviews of Universalizing Objects

A Green Ceramic Creature signed “Sharon MacDonald, H., 1914”

Price: 1.99

This object seems very good for what it is. On the one hand it is clearly dog, but on the other, it isn’t at all. It is quite smooth and green. When I first glanced it, I assumed it was something more particular. My brain must have filled in the gaps, for unlike most objects, the more I looked at it and handled it, the less I understood what it was, and the more general it became. Perhaps we can tentatively term such rare things as this as Universalizing Objects. Something like a thing, but then it seems to drift from the specific into the ideal. Nonetheless, it tastefully freezes itself before it quite reaches the stage of intellect, and remains matter. There is nothing more cliché these days than a mere “imaginary object”, and so I am glad this thing stuck it out in the concrete. On the bottom it is dated 1914. A harbinger of war? I like its colour. We can only hope there will be more of them forthcoming. Will there be? Time will tell.

 

A Leaky Amulet

Price: Found on the street

This is a medium-range generalizing entity that won’t set you back too much and that will get the job done. Its peculiarity lies in its general bottle shape. Nonetheless, it is a two-dimensional bottle, and most strikingly, has a series of irregular cut outs in its body, reminding one of either geological extraction of fossils or a very abstract game of “Operation”. It certainly grabs the attention of passerby, but you’d be surprised how many people won’t even stop to pick up a shiny gold object when others are watching. The more one considers it, the more one wavers between choosing: is it a functional frame, or an apotropaic amulet? Metallic-gold seems to be the only option available, although some wear along the edges suggest another colour could be drawn out of it if you aren’t afraid of customizing your universalizing object. Is it handsome? Not really. Does it remind you of an eye or a hand? No, perhaps a microbe or a molecule at best. Nonetheless, for what it promises, it certainly delivers. Worth picking up if you get the chance.

 

An Empty Location Device

Price: 2.99

If you don’t already have one, you definitely need to get yourself one of these. In the technological world we live in there are few things which capture the spirit of concrete obsolescence so eloquently and yet are so relatively ubiquitous in junk shops (for the moment, at any rate). The basic mechanism is to select a letter with the golden pointer, and then press the lever. The object will spring open to an empty black zone, revealing ever the same text: PENCILIST, Model “E”, General Binding Corporation etc. etc. (One is especially struck by the idea of a General Binding Corporation, which speaks to a Hegelian progression, but also of the “general binding agent”, in an alchemical sense). Perhaps once it contained names, addresses, secret poems, dream accounts. Certainly it contained area codes and “bates” (The Bates Motel? Or is there some elision in ‘bates?). The most striking feature of this model, missing both its dividers and its pages, is the ability to experience the (shall we say quantum?) differences of so many possible realitiesfrom A to Z, as it were—and yet experience no qualitative change in result. Yet. The mechanism of shutting and opening the lid, hilarious little coffin of the office, leaves a wavering gap in the certainty of the operator. Who knows if certain occult combinations of letters chosen might one day result in the appearance, on the inside, of something else?

-JA

By | 2018-04-07T01:30:46+00:00 April 6th, 2018|Essay, Object, Prose|0 Comments