Surrealerpool, the Liverpool Surrealist group, organised a public happening ‘The Lost Plot’ on Friday 9th February 2023. This was a vibrant and thoroughly ‘pataphysical manifestation of the Surrealerpool group. We hope there will be many more.
Doug Campbell attended as a representative of La Sirena, and is entirely responsible for the ‘in the moment’ quality of the photos below. We hope they give a flavour of the event.
Collective performance of the Surrealerpool manifesto
Further inspirational readings
The audience is rapt!
Climactic ritual sacrifice of the Lost Plot piñata
The website of the Surrealerpool group, is linked below. Their numerous publications are uniformly excellent and warmly recommended.
Taya King: La Sirena Surrealist Group participated in the International Exhibition of Surrealism by submitting collective poetry texts, artworks, and films, which was followed by their physical representation as a group at the exhibition in Cairo (February 2022). This historically significant event also marked the first time that all members of La Sirena have met each other since the group’s virtual inception the previous year, during lockdown. I was particularly proud to present my two films, La Femme Automatiqueand La Femme (Re)trouvée (2021), at the exhibition.
Darren Thomas: Being part of this great exhibition, in Cairo has been a truly special experience. As well as showing several of my collages and photographs, I screened the third film in my trilogy The Dream Key (eclipse) and performed my poetry. But my abiding memory is the collective and international nature of this meeting of hearts and minds from the surrealist community, offering a wonderful opportunity to meet old and new comrades alike from so many countries and different cultures and take part in a collective dialogue and group activities – the poetry made by all!
Doug Campbell: I had been excited to see the rebirth of Egyptian surrealism over the last few years, and was thrilled to be invited to Cairo to participate in the exhibition. Despite the many challenges faced by the organisers, the event more than lived up to expectations. A meeting of minds in a magical space, and as such, perhaps necessarily challenging. For me, those challenges were a reason to get out there and get involved, not a reason to stay at home. I’m so glad I did, and I’m sure the contacts made and the energy generated will lead to many further adventures.
Daina Kopp: I was over the moon to come to Cairo for such a monumental surrealist exhibit. As a polyglot, I was in my element to be surrounded by artists and creators of all kinds from 28 countries and 4 continents who flew in. It was an honor and a pleasure to submit artwork and perform with my surrealist dream-inspired band, Hypnagogic Telegram. It was enchanting to meet with my fellow sirens from La Sirena and I look forward to further collaborations with the artists who contributed to this amazing historical exhibit. An ancient country hosting the next chapter of surrealism. Bravo!
‘I is another – and always multiple’. (Claude Cahun)
The Dream Key trilogy (2007-12) formed an integral part of the practice element for my PhD: ‘Border crossings: (re)presenting gender in surrealist film’, and included collage and assemblage, which built on, and were in dialogue with the written research (chapters on Un Chien andalou (Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí, 1929), Rose Hobart (Joseph Cornell, 1936) and Les Yeux Sans Visage (Georges Franju, 1960).
This dialogical approach sought to extend the notion of surrealism as a form of research and knowledge, with the surrealists seen as artist-researchers, whose artworks are recognised as both tools and documents of their research; and, crucially, connected to a much wider, political, philosophical and revolutionary programme, aiming, ultimately: to change life (Rimbaud) and transform the world (Marx).
Transformation is seen as central to a re/mapping of the spaces, supposedlimits and frontiers of surrealist notions of gender identity. Any single or fixed reading is problematised in favour of a blurring of the illusory boundaries between masculine/feminine (as process/flux); deconstructing and challenging any society that encourages the positioning of men and women according to binarised (patriarchal) discourses.
Each film explores gender identity in the form of a quest: an actress encounters a series of mysterious doubles, on a quest for her stolen voice in the ‘Doll’s House’; a lock of hair, a teardrop and a kiss are collected by the male musician, on his quest to embrace his feminine other; and a female dancer dreams of escaping the birdcage, embedded in Fisher’s chest, on a quest beyond the binary prison-house. Using narrative, non-narrative, live action and stop motion, the films work individually and dialogically, reflecting a complex engagement with the surrealist notion of gender identity as dynamic, fluid and multiple. Key surrealist themes of desire, liberation and transformation are explored as the three protagonists’ individual quests intersect and cross over…
Links to films in The Dream Key trilogy:
1. The Dream Key (becomings) [HD Video, 23.06 mins, 2012]
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