Sunday, March 28, 2004

Over the weekend I have been reading a study of the French writer, medium and performer (usually described as a Surrealist) Robert Desnos (1900-1945) and it is a fascinating book (Robert Desnos, Surrealism and the Marvelous in Everyday Life by Katherine Conley).
Desnos wrote in 1931:

"I am wary of words. So often they do not resonate properly, of the way they should. They can seem excessive and, as a consequence mean. They can be insufficient when they should be tender. I hold you too high in my esteem to be content with a vocabulary that has proven itself and yet which I find unworthy of our feelings for one another. How I would like to invent a special language, clear, precise, absolute in order to tell you even the smallest things." (p61).

Language constructed as gesture, image and multi-layered text was crystallized in its modern form with the thinking and actions of Desnos and the best (in my opinion) of his contempories (particularly Duchamp, Artaud, Tzara, Schwitters, and even Breton).

Robert Desnos Asleep (when he did his best work......)

"Desnos's ability to perform such a private activity as dreaming in front of a group demonstrates how capable he was of occupying the oscillating space in between his private and public selves. It is no wonder he became a masterful radio broadcaster" (Conely p23).
In regard to immersion, is there anything more immersive than sleep (death??)?

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