The statement of london surrrealist group / the first issue of the room

We live in a time of great uncertainty. Surrealists in the UK are not alone in facing the growth of chaos, and threats from a resurgent far-right. We can only try to understand the predicament of surrealists in other countries living in analogous situations, threats possibly more ferocious, to them and to everybody willing to speak the word ‘freedom’ convinced it still means something more than a choice of brands of goods or even a choice of which brand of servitude one might follow. 

And all the while the planet itself is increasingly under threat as the atmosphere warms, the seas and rivers are poisoned, and one species after another is driven to extinction. In this desperate situation some may dismiss it as frivolous to entertain the idea of surrealist activities, of games, and of a new magazine. 

However, we absolutely refute such a dismissal. To be creative is at the heart of what it means to be human, and to be creative means not just to work, but to play. Because of this we can speak, not only of play and games, but of the Ludic Principle, spinning words, images, ideas, freely between people, transforming the world and being transformed as they do so. 

To play is to be free and to enjoy, even in oppressive social circumstances, a degree of unalienated liberty that work can never provide. 

Such moments are the inspiration for finding a new and genuinely free life and society. It might require a revolution…it certainly requires a constant state of revolt against the existing state of things. Through our games we engage with the analogy principle, with non-identity, we find new forms of communication, new routes for intersubjectivity and new modes for understanding the reality of our desires. As such we can only be against the oppression of the identity principle, of coercive ideologies and societies, against the increasingly totalitarian politics of the public sphere. 

In order to live in freedom we need to have a habitable planet and surrealism has been consistent in advocating a change in our attitude to the environment, to climate change and to non-human life. We have advocated the return of wildernesses and have never considered that despoiling the world is necessary for that realisation of our desires that we have spoken of. What has changed is the growing urgency of climate change that becomes increasingly chaotic and dangerous to human and non-human life alike. We do not regard Surrealism as having the sole copyright on freedom, but the surrealist movement has been a consistent voice for freedom and of freedom in an unfree world for nearly a century and a manifestation of surrealism’s reality now, in this desperate time, is welcome.

London Surrealist Group

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