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(Original text written for a book of international surrealist contributions, edited by the surrealist group in Paris.)

Johannes Bergmark


Ever since the first surrealists repeated Chirico's call, this prejudice has been seen as the surrealists' "official opinion", and the meeting between music and surrealism has been fragmentary, devided and unknown. Nevertheless, a long line of surrealists have been deeply engaged in music, as interested listeners, musicians, instrument makers, composers, improvisors, film-makers, theater people and choreographers.

         Some things have also been written about the subject, more or less well, insufficient or ground-breaking.

         The aspects then mentioned are the surrealist possibilities of the music maker to play around with the acoustic memory or unconscious, about inspiration, identification, the parallel between automatism and improvisation in jazz and free improvised music, about musical collage, about the dream as a model for instrument making, about the sound-poetical possibilities of everyday objects and everyday sounds etc. It is obvious that the principles of surrealism and the wealth of creativity make the possibilities just as endless in music as in other fields of human expression and action. And just as little as in other "art forms", there is any single method or principle that is "the" surrealist one. We have to have the same moral and libertary demands on everyone, musician or not!

         However, I don't think we should embrace all music and other "cultural expressions" too light-heartedly - just as little as we should denounce all "official" culture as bourgeois or miserable too easily. We can judge people after their intentions, their intelligence and their imagination. Commercialism and personality market threatens everything.

         I see every concert, my own and others, as a human action where every circumstance has a meaning. A concert is a social event where all the present explore, affirm and celebrate what they are and want to be, and you can interpret the event as a whole, as radical or conservative, liberating or repressive, visionary or stupidifying, communicative or authoritarian. To limit the view or relation only to the sounds doesn't correspond to the real course of events. Sound without connection has no meaning and isn't music. The fact that music can be so extraordinarily engaging, should lead us to understand that it has to do with the whole of our organism, our body, spirit and relations to everything. Our way to relate and the sounds' ways to relate are parallels and easily associate.

* * *

For myself, the engagement in music is intimately connected to the curiosity on the weirdness of sounds, I have always been chasing adventures of the unpredictable and hard-to-grasp.

         This has also been connected to the desire to touch physical objects, to relate my body's need for sensual adventures to attractive objects and materials that I choose to construct my instruments of, or to play, on equal terms with other instruments.

         The adventure has moreover been staged through improvising, preferably together with others, but also voluntarily with objecting materials that don't allow me to have total controll over the path.

         Concerning the use of writing and the voice, I have enjoyed letting the language break up in smaller units where fragments of meaning have been thrown over with improvised means until they get closer to the fields of sound and music.

         Lately, I have been inclined to letting a few sounds "occult" themselves to give them the chance to bear their own lives, to become their own forms and beings.



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