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Lecture 10

Lecture 10 - Surrealism and the Absurd

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FCS195 – Lecture 10 25/11/2011 09:02:00 Surrealism and The Absurd The theatre of the Absurd Albert Camus questioned the absurd in a philosophical way. • He comes to a conclusion that human life is absurd • There was no meaning These people think of the absurd as a way to express ourselveAbsurdity becomes the form their theatre movement will take. Important people: • Eugène Ionesco • Samuel Beckett o Wrote in English and switched to French Eugène Ionesco • Sees absurdity as something that has no meaning or clear purpose • Interested in exploring day-to-day events and how they make no sense o i.e. How we exchange polite conversation much of what we say is pointless and useless • Exposes that we rely on clichés and makes fun of it Main works: • The Bald Soprano • The Lesson • Rhinoceros Samuel Beckett • Wrote novels of the absurd and plays as well • His plays and books are funny in a dark tragic sense • His works are closer to existentialism • They are tragic because characters are in a world with no meaning, they are clueless • His works get more tragic as time passes • Art should be “the expression that there is nothing to express, nothing with which to express, nothing from which to express, no power to express, together with the obligation to express.” • People are waiting for meaning o We keep waiting for an answer and for meaning that will never come Main works: • Waiting for Godot • Endgame • Happy Days Surrealism • Very structured group  founded by André Breton • Surrealist aspiration: to free man from the constraints of a too- utilitarian civilization o They will try to break the logic of writing o How we write will be completely transformed • Very provocative to make you question your life it is supposed to be shocking • Many artists will play on the representation o They will present an object that is very different to what we are accustomed to  this makes it shocking and reminds us that this is a mere representation and not the real thing • “Natural” surrealist: Breton met Frida Kahlo and was surprised when he finds out that she was already painting surrealist paintings  he was very dictator-like and believed that he defined what was surrealist and what was not o natural surrealist = being a surrealist without the help of Breton Surrealist techniques • Inspired by: o Dreams o Madness  These are both seen as freeing because they are not bound by rationality • Automatic writing • Exquisite Corpses • Surrealists want to bring things together (things that do not go together) like in dreams and create parallels that we usually never notice They want to explain the beauty of things that happen by chance.  “The beauty of finding an umbrella and a sewing machine on an operating table.” They will try to trick the mind as to not fall back into rationality. Tools to trick the mind: • Automatic writing o You do not intervene o Hallucination stage to put yourself in a limit state where your rational mind will be limited they want to access ideas that are in our mind but that we cannot access because of rationality  Often used drugs or alcohol to achieve this • Exquisite corpses o Games to create parallels between random stuff  i.e. One game was to write or draw something on a paper and then fold the paper. The next person would then continue to write something different or draw something different and then unfold it and it would be full of completely random ideas, thoughts and pictures put together. Salvador Dali The Great Masturbator • Dali always tried to put many impressions together this creates parallels • He always puts his figure sleeping o When we see his sleeping figure, we know he is referring to dreams • Sexual imagery o Dali always plays with sexual imagery o Praying mantis  often used because it is seen as representing sexual dominance • Often things will
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