Monday, March 3, 2008

Long live the revolution!

It seems to me that there is a connection between the ideas of automatism and proletariat art. In discussing automatic writing, Breton states, “groups of words which follow one another, manifest among themselves the greatest solidarity. It is not up to me to favor one group over another” (33). It seems to me that denial of classical notions of art and poetry might favor those with more radical ideas as they lack the formal educational conditioning which can inhibit artists. Granted, I know he stated that proletariat art up to that point had been generally lackluster, but I suspect more as a result of strict Soviet conformity more so than absence of previous education. Also, it seems to me that Surrealists (or at least Breton) didn't feel materialism (by that I mean solid thought as it relates to actual objects and things) to be as valid as symbols, subconscious thought, dreams and the like. I might be wrong, though, because it also seemed to me that he contradicted himself frequently. Which I guess in itself could be a form of dialectic thought.

This leads me to wonder how Hegelian Dialectism relates to Surrealism. The idea of a theses and antitheses combining to create a new less reductionist theses seems very much like Surrealists use of juxtaposition. At this point I remembered why I should invest in a highlighter as I can't for the life of me recall where he mentioned Hegel or Dialectic reasoning. Any help or thoughts?

Also, in spite of Breton's denial, he and his contemporaries seem very guilty of “ivory tower” philosophizing (248). Which leads me to wonder, can art ever really belong to the proletariat? Some forms of art naturally fall well outside the reach of the worker. Film making, for instance requires raw materials too expensive for the working class. Even writing, which only should require a pencil and paper, requires a near impossible time investment for the countless individuals working 60+ weeks just to survive. Unfortunately, when something is created by a proletariat, generally, the canon is so ingrained that if it doesn't fit an already well-established definition of art, it will be ignored. (Although, our culture seems to love emphasizing a few token works that break the mold as proof to the contrary). Then again, can an artist even be a proletariat since by definition she would be controlling the means of production?

But as I like to say, I digress (as a hobby!) and I apologize for my tangent.

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