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Carl-Michael Edenborg



Matter

 

From the matter of the object to the matter of love, from the matter of spirit to the matter of language, the subject of the first issue of our journal remains difficult to specify, like surrealism itself. We who are thinking matter often find it hard to think matter. When we try we immediately find ourselves condemned to that old split cutting through the western subject: matter is non-spirit, darkness, death, evil, female, absolute dirt. Have we discovered though that we ourselves are matter that is thinking, the mind of matter, then we may also discover the mind of matter, that is analogy; and dialectics becomes the accomplice of correspondence, critique that of poetry. Simultaneously we make reservations against associations with another darkness, the spreading of which bodes no good: the allegedly irrational fascism, with its ideology of light, cleanness, health, naturalness, power. The fascist body, though anti-spiritual, is nevertheless an immaterial, fleshless body, and the alien, of which matter bears evidence, is the ultimate object of its aggression. Quite contrary to conducting towards fascism, matter in its political function implies a critique of the oppression from bourgeois idealism in its present form: consumerism, the multiplication of the sign at the expense of the signified (the domination of the objective spirit) and the dissolution of the social in an individualistic conformity.


In the face of all this matter stands as absolute divergence. The taboos that surround it strengthen its force. Its never being independent remains a provocation against liberal possessive individualism, confusing quantity with quality, state with society, freedom with money. The fact that matter speaks to us through its negativity about death and the wasteful wound of life, punctures our humanistic bubble as well as the tyranny of meaningless utility and welfare.


As the shortage of reality steadily makes itself more perceptible, the need for myth and the desire for the marvellous also grows. All desire is exploitable. The "neospiritual" reaction takes over the forms of production and consuming of capitalism (mysticism becoming commodity fetishism, the spiritual market colonising spirit, personality developing becoming utilism and wage slavery). Ever since romanticism an imcomparably richer and more revolutioning answer to the shortage-of-reality than occultism , not striving to neutralise or divert desire, poetry is never content with either mind or matter. Still less it prefers something in-between. Through a language but to boiling by imagination, poetry embodies the desire for true communication, a desire degraded in the homogenous society of mass communication. The cyberspace of the digital mind is structured in accordance with western reason: the law of the excluded third generalised and without exceptions as thought is dissolved into an infinite row of zeros and ones - the christian heaven "realised" in a gigantic massage apparatus for fleshless bodies, where angels keep singing halleluia for the god of technology.


On the other hand we cannot put our faith in the "body" - a recent invention. Itīs not a question of trying to find a secure point of departure in, for example, sexuality which, as a behavior of stress and alienation among others in these allegedly postmodern times is reduced to a kind of consolational eating. It may seem as the answer that surrealism has to this destitution is insufficient, that its stress on mans abysmal deficiency and gigantic desire and imagination fits badly in this epoch of generalised narcissism where the individual can line up his nervous system with a world embracing computer network and believe himself to be absolute digital mind. Surrealism nevertheless sticks to its principles and suggests other revelations; like play - objective chance - love beyond all reason - absolute divergence. To the surrealist illumination is added the myth of matter. Beyond good and evil, matter in spite of everything mumbles with us in our deficiency and our despair over the "screen life" and the miserable world it conceals. Rather putrefaction than the healthy smile of the baby-boom, rather the black edges under the fingernails than yes to life.


Surrealism suggests other revelations and thus another society, another life, another everyday. In every genuinely poetic fruit there is a seed to the abolition of degradation. In never ceasing to create embryos of communities through collective creativity and critique we believe ourselves to behave in accordance with the demands laid upon those who wish to live face to face with the disaster of our time.


Stockholm, may 1995.


(Stora Saltet #1, june 1995)

 

 

 

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