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The Exteriority Crisis: from the city limits and beyond

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The Exteriority Crisis: from the city limits and beyondIn its corners, streets, gates, bars, squares, boulevards, gardens, parks and cafés, the city maintains some of the focal points of “its” unconscious. These are found and explored everyday by surrealists who obtain the essential experience of surreality in metropolitan life. The concrete experience of exteriority (which in the following collective essay we concentrate only on the city limits and beyond them) requires from us a disposition closely akin not only to the sensible renewal of people, but also to
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Suicidal Objects

Objects are like Rasputin:
you often have to kill them for them to die (1)

– Christian Dotremont

Sometimes, objects around us appear in such a way that one has the impression that, for a moment, they have come to life. In Jan Švankmajer’s short film, The flat (1968), a man finds himself locked up in an apartment in which the objects therein behave autonomously, to his astonishment and perpetual confusion. In this situation, the inanimate rebels frustrate the main character’s attempts to put any of them to use: the legs of a chair become shortened, several holes appear in a spoon, the bed disintegrates when the man tries to sleep... What this constitutes is a revolt of material objects that results in the discovery of the unknown dimensions of the mundane.

Shopping cart threw itself downstairs
(found by Noé Ortega in Santander, Spain, July 2007)

However, now that objects are confined almost permanently within a prison cell of utility, generally unconnected to any type of liberating act, then their desperation proliferates. In the city it is not unusual to find the corpses of functionality: all those objects which, (...) Leer más

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Defending Useless Aspects of Urban Objectology

I dare to think of a world without cities, i.e. a world with plenty of “clean, safe cities” and without abandoned objects to take or manipulate. This would imply that all footprints and stains, smells and textures, and all of the other wonders of reality that enrich our lives would disappear. Nowadays, despite town planning, by construction mafias that destroy urban life and communities, we can still stumble upon, step on and break things.

One undeniable fact about cities is that within them we are surrounded by lots of objects, at rest or in motion, conventional or unique. When we walk through any city (from one end to the other, walking in circles, aimlessly...) subconsciously we always need to grab something valuable; from the dump, from the stall... We at least think about the possibility of interacting.

All cities are governed by the domination of safety, neatness and cleanliness, which is aimed to establish better police control. Fortunately, in this period of capitalist decline there will always be garbage strikes, labor demonstrations, fierce winds, violent storms... and all of this will make destroyed objects emerge once and again, as objects displaced to areas where nobody would expect to find them. (...) Leer más

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The Crying Stone

And remember that your poor memory
let the golden fish flow between its numbed fingers.
René Daumal

Accepting the definition of memory as the persistence of the past, it can be stated that the city itself is memory. Therein, memory and its material base coincide. The physical structure of the city absorbs everything that takes place within it, and in this way, it is dynamically configured. Consequently, it seems evident that a profound experience of the city requires a strong immersion in its memory, with the final aim of discovering the mesh of roots by which it is nourished and continues to grow and develop.

In this context, I decided to carry out a poetic, emotional and psycho-geographical exploration of my childhood environment. One day, in February 2007, I was strolling in the park where I used to play as a child. After being astonished at the cracks in the ground caused by tree-roots, I ended up in a small, semi-circular square with a sculpture of a cow in the middle. This place constitutes one of the epicentres of my childhood. On the wall at the right side of the square, I suddenly saw a relief I had (...) Leer más

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About the revolt in Madrid in May and June 2011: The dangers of the infantilization of the movement

If the movement that started on May 15 has already produced wonderful fruits that have shaken Spain, Europe and virtually the whole world, if the contagious example of self-management, real and direct democracy, spontaneity, organization, fraternity and courage to challenge all dogmas and all absolute truths, if this experience that is creating a new society just as it has raised a real city that is also a maze of desires, if this has happened, let us remember that it wasn't for nothing that and didn't happened free of charge. From the 24 arrested on the night of 15 who were cruelly beaten by the police to those who have dared to speak and give their opinion, overcoming the vertigo of the stigma which had been inoculated in them since childhood against the temptation of exhibiting their true problems and desires, passing, of course, not forgetting the comrades who have given the best of themselves and not just to compete neither to further enrich the slave power, but to make it work and grow and move on, people who have been working in the kitchen, carrying water to the assemblies to relieve the heat, erected tents and food shops and improvising (...) Leer más

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About the revolt in Madrid in May and June 2011: Seized square, magnetized square: the citadel of an realized utopia

This square is now a constantly renewed citadel, in the sense that it isn't fixed by external boundaries, but extends according to the requirements of material, mental and spiritual necessities in which even here imagination is admirable as well as an organizational ability that demonstrates the falsity of the perpetual present time of the economy. In this regard, one of the ways in which time is being lived is the one without money. Since the rising of the movement of disobedience, the money has been expelled from this city which, how partially you like, is the living embodiment of a concrete utopia that is being realized. Without money – marvelous assertion of the practical truth of poetry. And it is so that assemblary imagination and organization, horizontal, fraternal (how hasn't this word been actualized and how hasn't it become a formidable force that forever seemed to have lost its energy, all its truth!) have achieved, in its turn, to establish the communism of genius – all the creativity for the people and by the people, in their experimental,  playful and organized expressions and their practices. 
 
 
And let us not forget another thing: (...) Leer más

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About the revolt in Madrid in May and June 2011: The Sun Rises in the Night

Sketches of the revolt of Madrid

May 18, 2011

Today, at five o'clock in the morning, the general assembly, which had begun at three-thirty in the morning, was still lively. A thousand people occupied the Plaza de Sol at that time. The scenery was wonderful: people sleeping or dozing, or wrapped in blankets and standing, wandering around putting up posters with generally imaginative slogans, exchanging ideas, masters of their own bodies and dreams. And lovers who loved each others, yes, exactly. A black glove over the cardboards, and a blanket-man standing, taking a self portrait because he had found his own new beauty. Fatigue fraternizes with imagination. The dream lives over the asphalt. Oneirism and wakefulness together: one could almost say that the dream and action have twinned (ah, Baudelaire!). I do not exaggerate anything. What joy! May what lasts last, as one painting says: the world is revolving around the Plaza de Sol.

Now one can only let oneself be carried with this joy, despite the reformists, leftists and other filtrations who want to appropriate the wonderful disarray in which the political class is engulfed. These are nothing but rags before the event itself.

May 19

At (...) Leer más

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About the revolt in Madrid in May and June 2011: The sun rises everywhere

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For the liberation of spaces

We've all seen what has happened in Madrid on May 15, but perhaps we do not fully understand or appreciate it: the occupation and liberation of the Puerta del Sol has opened a crack in the wall of the established order, routine and even of domesticated common sense through which the spirit of freedom has crept, embodied in the assemblies, committees and the working groups and its horizontal functioning based on the free discussion of the agreements and the rotating delegates, as well as solidarity, real communication and mutual support, in real democracy, in short, which we're trying to reinvent and experiment as the best and most legitimate way to truly take ownership of our destiny, without the dictatorship of money or the tutelage of the politicians.

However, this whole process and what still may come next as we so much long for, is based on a principle that we should remember, assume and assert. If we are finally together in this square which no longer is a transit point between the temples of consumption but regaining its vocation of being a free agora and of a heart where (...) Leer más

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Disaction

Disaction is the opposite of action. It results not from any articulation or discourse, and doesn’t have any practical or ideological purpose, at least not in the moment of its realization. A priori, none of the latter has anything to do with disaction. Volition is secondary. Passivity comes first. A disaction is an event. It occurs absentmindedly, spontaneously or unexpectedly. In a certain way, it is disdainful: it occurs independently of premeditation; and it isn’t anything that is enunciated. It resembles an apostrophe in one’s daily wandering, taking place within a state of wakefulness. It is also a jump of joy for the spirit, a modest joy although experienced as very pleasurable (which is accustomed to being increased over the course of time, due to the quietude that it leaves in the mental and affective field, as well as in new moments of disaction).

Therefore disaction is not an activity; in this case it lacks any productive principle: a disaction is unproductive as it is gratuitous and asystematic, and furthermore is anonymous and consequently represents a lack of concern for calculated effort and authorship. In this respect, disaction is the opposite of effort, in its mental and/or articulate elaboration and (...) Leer más

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Allucinatio Insulae

The wind is a great waterfall, a fall through which the air rushes down. What is it that opens itself in the space for the air to precipitate? What is the nature of the accumulation that comes to unleash that frenzied whip?

The violence of the air always appears to be triggered under the sign of a strong decompensation. All its devastating power, all the material turmoil and the dislocation of elements that it produces has as its ultimate goal the restoration of something that had been removed from the place.

The corpses of the wind are the same as the fire's.

  

The heat takes up everything. The light sweats. The shadow sweats. The palm sweats. All the bodies sweat. Moisture invades everything: nails, lime, bricks, sexes, iron. The moisture leads to sleep. And the people lie down on the sidewalks and sleep. A man and a woman in that corner. Four feet protrude from another one, but it is eight of them. Some more in another street. A quarter to four, then at five, and at another hour without name, Fourier has a siesta on the streets (...) Leer más

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The inspired from the edge of the sea

Traces of anonymous creativity1

Bronze pearls strung together by the sea, their sheen indicates the fiery spotlight of the collective dream. We thought that their lights were comparable to their shadows but we were wrong. Behind the delicate and ephemeral appearance are hidden the lives of those who want more . New constellations offering to the elements, stars drifting in the winds and the currents, for such is the compass that imposes itself on their domains, and nothing that we do will stop its necessary advance.

Footprints in the sand left by the first inhabitants, these indomitable jewels adorn the southern edge of the world 2.

1.- When laziness plays and creates

Work and leisure appear as separate activities in the structuring and specialization of time under the spectacle. However, this is quite an obvious split, since both share the same substrate of utility and profit.

But in that grave hiatus when the sun sets by the sea, the Great Schism gives way to Harmony. During the meager respite that work grants to rest – (...) Leer más

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Perforated reality

It’s a sunny and windy day in May. I leave my house and go down the street towards a nearby public square. I walk with a certain briskness, since I have to take care of some daily errands before keeping an appointment with my friend, Eugenio Castro. I scarcely walk any distance from my doorway when I see some postcards that have been thrown onto the sidewalk, which grab my attention. On first glance I perceive two identical cards that show a panoramic view, in black and white, of the old or historic part of a city. Both appear to have been perforated by a drill or similar instrument.

  

Immediately I stop, with the intent of gathering these postcards from the ground. Consequently I bend down and pick one of them up. My first impressions become confirmed as soon as I contemplate the nearby postcard: effectively, the image shows an impressive stone bridge over a river whose railings are crowned with statues, and with a tower standing at the far end whose characteristic shape I immediately and excitedly recognize as the Charles Bridge, in Prague. This is a city (...) Leer más

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The unexpected object

Antonio Ramírez

The so-called ”unexpected objects” must be realized as follows: first one has to select and purchase a commodity in a supermarket (the mode of acquisition will be determined during the process; without a doubt, the ideal way is to get through shop lifting). The contents of the package, i.e., the commodity itself is replaced by an object of poetic nature made on purpose. The making of the object can be performed before or after obtaining the product in such a way that it keeps a relationship with the substituted content or not; the only condition is that the latter's dimensions suit the package. Once you achieve to restore the packaging to the original appearance it had before its original content had been stripped, i.e. without signs of having been opened, it is returned on the sly to the supermarket shelf from which it was collected, waiting to be purchased by an unwary consumer.

    
Bruno Jacobs

For whoever realizes and places the unexpected object in the supermarket, it is an act of subversion (...) Leer más

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Dead time

When the dead, happily,
leave the factories
time swallows them
just like that...

(From a song by Soul Bisontes)

Far from futile and usually biased idealisms, we must continue to consider work as one of the major scourges of human civilization. Even in the West, where there apparently (1) are no blatant forms of extreme exploitation akin to slavery, work remains like a poison running through society, sickening and weakening the best parts of it. Perhaps, in this case, could we speak of ”consensual slavery”.

It is a fact that the advances in the situation of the workers that occurred during the last century have for a good while been undermined by neoliberal policies with the result of a patent degradation of their working conditions, but such advances never occurred in the case some types of factories and workshops, as well as in construction, which by no means ceased to be very harsh and dangerous occupations during all that time. Although it is accepted with resignation (and even with pride by some naive workers), the salary paid for a job of this kind is not by far worth the sacrifice performed by the worker. However, (...) Leer más

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Chronicle of the event about the object

To organize these three days of debate in order to reflect on the object is related to the intention of the Surrealist Group of Madrid to intervene in the reality of everyday life. This presence is part of the dynamics that this group has been developing since the beginning of the 90s. But it must be said that it takes on a new meaning in the light of the present state of things, as it has been well exposed in the opening text of this book. Specifically, and as a political strategy of its own, the discourse that raises out of and which stands on the principles of revolutionary criticism and poetic enchantment should find the practices that materialize it and that tend to make it desirably understandable for everyone: understandable in rational terms (conceptual) and non-rational (poetic). Thus, elucidation and intuition, analysis and apprehension should proceed in a more united way than ever. The issue that this strategy puts forward is where to expose this discourse and these practices so that the ideas that it contains not only reach to the related but also to the contraries, to the concerned and to the unconcerned, to those different and to (...) Leer más

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