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Dada, Surrealism, Absurdism

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Bettina Grassmann

on 23 May 2014

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Transcript of Dada, Surrealism, Absurdism

Literature and the Subliminal Mind

Voyages into the Subconscious
Dada, Surrealism and Absurdism
What the *!%&?
To understand, we have to look at discoveries in Psychology...
Subconscious mind
Exploiting the Subliminal
Early ideas about the unconscious mind
For many centuries, philosophers, artists, writers, and others believed that many of our ideas seem to come from a deeper place than ordinary consciousness. Many believed that great works of Art and Literature were created by supernatural beings, such as muses or genies.
Later, psychologists like F. W. H. Myers, William James and Janet conducted research on hypnosis and other altered states of consciousness, and concluded that "ordinary" consciousness is only a small part of consciousness, and there must be a subliminal or subconscious mind that is capable of much more than "ordinary" consciousness.
Sigmund Freud
Carl Jung
Jung believed that we all share a consciousness, which he called the collective unconscious. This collective unconscious stores archetypes, or universal images and patterns that come up in stories and dreams all around the world. According to Jung, we are dreaming together.
Automatic Writing
Conscious mind
Deren Brown, like all hypnotists and advertisers, uses the subliminal mind to get people to do things.
Freud believed that we have repressed desires and fears that we store in our subconscious minds. These fears and desires cause neuroses. To heal ourselves from these neuroses, we have to examine what is in the subconscious, usually through dream analysis
History of Dada
Artistic and Literary movement that began in Switzerland during World War I
Dadaists were disenchanted with middle-class values and thought "reason" and "logic" were among causes of World War I
Freud (1856-1939)
Automatic writing is a way to let the subliminal mind speak
People feel that something is writing through them and have talent that they don't usually have
James believed some famous texts were automatically written, such as
The Koran
The Book of Mormon
Automatic writing was (and still is) used as a form of therapy
People tried to induce automatic writing with ouija boards and hypnosis
later, the Dadaists and Surrealists invented "Exquisite Corpse"
A ouija board
From Dada to Surrealism...
André Bréton,
Writer, Art collector, therapist, Dadaist, founder of Surrealism
In "The Surrealist Manifesto," Bréton embraced the freedom of expression and second childhood resulting from exploring the subconscious mind. Bréton described Surrealism as "pure psychic automatism."
“The man who cannot visualize a horse galloping on a tomato is an idiot.” - André Breton
Similar to Surrealism, Absurdism explores the impossible
Influenced by Existentialist philosophy that sees life as absurd and meaningless
Writers influenced by Absurdism: Kafka, Camus, Sartre, Beckett
Absurd situations
Sense of danger or threat
Small, helpless heroes and menacing authority figures
Influenced Absurdist and Surrealist writers
Features of Dada
Used a lot of automatic writing
In many ways, anti-art
Surrealism in Brief
Features in Literature:
Playful writing
Non sequiturs
Dream sequences
Kafkaesque writing
Literally, "above realism"
A Literary, Artistic and cultural movement that aimed to liberate creative expression through exploration of the subconscious mind
Dates: 1920s-?
Theatre of the Absurd:
"Play without Words"
- Samuel Beckett
Full transcript