Monday, May 13, 2024

"Rather than the will, rather than the elan vital, Imagination is the true source of psychic production. Psychically, we are created by our reverie - created and limited by our reverie - for it is the reverie which delineates the furthest limits of our mind. Imagination works at the summit of the mind like a flame, and it is to the region of the metaphor of metaphor, to the Dadaist region where the dream, as Tristan Tzara has seen, gives a new form to the experience, when reverie transforms forms that have previously been transformed, that we must look for the secret of the mutant forces.”

- Gaston Bachelard, The Psychoanalysis of Fire

6 comments:

  1. The references to dreams would suggest Bachelard meant surrealism rather than Dadaism.

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  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRB2T-Q_elI Jonathan Meades' rather entertaining look at surrealism. He's also a great defender of brutalism.

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    1. I like Jonathan Meades, and I'll give the surrealism thing a bog. But when I tried to watch his "I Heart Eyesores" program I had to turn it off after a bit - I think the problem is that the voiceover is text that would be fantastic to read on a page but it doesn't work as speech - too full of brilliant imagery and wordplay. Spoken delivery needs a more conversational cadence.

      (I learned this myself gradually through giving lectures - things that are clever and playful written down just don't come off when spoken... nor can the listening brain process extended, high-flown sentences with clauses and parentheticals. Paradoxically, the less cleanly articulated it is, the more digestible it is - broken bits of sentences, repetitions, can be absorbed better.... nowadays I never read from a pre-written text, I have keywords on a notecard)

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    2. "give the surrealism thing a bog" - is this my unconscious speaking through the typo? Automatic writing? I intended to write, "a go" - but "bog" suggests the likelier truth which is that it will join the giant ever growing heap of "intended to watch, never got around to".

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  3. "What I recognize to be living— living in the immediate sense— is what I recognize as being hot."

    I think Bachelard meant what he meant.

    He wrote about 'Surrationalism" in journal edited by Tzara in 1936: http://www.autodidactproject.org/other/bachelard_surrationalism3.html - so he was very familiar with surrealism as a project.

    His fascination with dreams and reveries aligns with those post-realist modernist movements of the interwar years.

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