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A reminder of the desire simulation industry, the mechanisms of recuperation and the battle over the advertising space referred to as der Geist
Whatever was able to exploit from the collected results of surrealism, has been put to use. Partly within art, literature etc, and far more within advertising. This is often said to miscredit surrealism, but itīs nevertheless true. The advertisment makers really have learnt from results showing that the unexpected juxtapositions, the strange coincidences, the brutally absurd and extremely playful, all catch peoples attention and speak rather directly to more or less hidden parts of their thinking going on more or less continuosly.
Probably we canīt exactly create anything. Our creativity is still unlimited in that we can, with different means, pay attention to fragments from the damned machinery of our verbal and imaginitive capacities. Call it the unconscious or not. Everything generates language and images. They will turn out to be well founded in experiences and wishes, and it will not be the least part of them that turns out to be of an embarrassing, unreasonable, forgotten and emotional character. Or perhaps to have an astonishing capacity to create such associations. It wouldnīt be possible to distinguish if it was the one or the other way.
Our verbal and imaginative capacity has been able to astonish even under the most scanty outer conditions. That contrast has contributed in many cases to some peoples wish to identify it as some manifestation of one or other deity, spirits, etc. In the beginning of the last century, in psychoanalysis, modernism, and other new fields for the science of the human, it still appeared as a distinct sphere, able to guarantee a certain psychic authencity.
But, today scattered results from the most advanced positions of thought and experience thus have entered a seemingly unseparable unity with the most degrading misery in advertising. When market economy reigns, anything that might make money tends to get maintained. Money are made when diverse commodities are bought, money are made when all available means to get into our heads are mobilised to bait to more purchases. There is no need for a conspiracy. Advertising overtook that which is surrealist automatically. (Many surrealists also took part themselves, just for fun Magritte, Nougé, Ernst, Dalí and Duchamp are all pioneers of odd commercial marketing.)
And, as a movement side by side with advertisments appearing striking, beautiful, damned funny and convincingly irrational, ever more of our imagination and our language is marked by advertising. I donīt know which of these two tendencies is the most degrading. But itīs not strange either. Listen inside your head: arenīt a lot of stupid pop songs and even commercial jingles echoing in there? Produce a spontaneous word flow, more or less in accordance with Bretons recepy for automatism in the manifesto of surrealism, without all censorship; donīt you find a number of comodity brand names sticking up their nose, a number of suggestive evocations of arbitrary needs, just like in advertising? If you really put your dreams to trial, arenīt some landscapes and beautiful people to be recognized from advertisment images? Why would our extremely receptive psychic abilities not pick up that about which the greatest and most seducive amount of nagging keeps on?
The Geist is an advertisment pillar like the others. The one with the most efficient marketing efforts gets the space. It is the best advertisment space; people will believe that it is themselves. And why not? How are we to draw the boundaries of ourselves among all these words and images? This is not I. This is not me.
Now does anyone think this sounds quite postmodernist? No, thereīs no reason to give in to any qualitative denivellation. There is communication building upon naked social needs, upon the urge for reciprocity and curiosity for the unknown; and this communication quite distinctly differs from communication in order to advertise (whether the advertised entities are gadgets, ways of life, opinions or persons - all of them may very much serve the purpose of commodities). Above all, there is poetry, wich quite distinctly differs from non-poetry. Or perhaps not always so distinctly. At least thereīs no psychic authencity there to guarantee poetry. It still surfaces where you least expect it to. Maybe it gets continuosly taken over by the commercial sphere just where you expect most from it. Maybe thereīs a terrible tug of war, an extremely intricate arms race. Recuperated elements strike back, and everything gets recuperated. Everything is always at stake.
Or not. Calm is a phenomenon that poetry always has been able to assert in a convincing way, and advertising always in a very obviously hollow and hypocrite way. Certain themes related to falling in love, openness towards the night sky, devoted sensous pleasures, the sea, the forest, the excitement of thought, never ever get out of date, except with those who are fashionable cynics that must avoid to appear ridiculous at any price. Poetry remains, even in its most traditional shape, but the battle of the Geist fell out to the triumphant victory of the trade and industry. Does anyone miss this Geist, by theway? What was it that we should have it for?
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