cyberSurrealism defined + Cybernetic Methodologies

People always ask me DMC, what does it mean? D's for never dirty, MC's for mostly clean.

But seriously folks, when asked about cyberSurrealism — and specifically about the definition of cyberSurrealism — I run with a vague series of answers + an open interpretation. I am sure the word cyberSurreal can invoke different emotional and conceptual visions for an artmaker or designer.

Here are some personal ( and official ) interpretations of cyberSurrealist ideas and methodologies:

My core thought is that cyberSurrealism is the modernday extension of the original Surrealist Movement from the 1920s ( The first Manifesto of Surrealism dating back to 1924 was originally written by the interdisciplinary artist and revolutionary André Breton ) — an augmentation of the movement — augmented Surreality if you will — now incorporating elements of the electronique that didn't quite exist during Phase 1 of 'the movement'.

Another way to look at it — break apart cyber and Surreal, what do you get?

The cyber part of the word — this beautiful prefix — could imply a cyberspace component, meaning some simple addition of an online, virtual reality component or likewise derivative alternate electronic existence. Maybe email gets included in the formula. Or tack on the web and all the ways we weave in this strange thoughtspace of information sharing and superhighwayness.

Or cyber could refer to cybernetics — the study + practice of self-regulating systems discussed + developed by amazing minds like Norbert Weiner, Stafford Beer, Gordon Pask, John von Neumann and many others. This includes examining systems that include some sort of feedback loop or mechanism. The systems govern themselves and sometimes can even evolve and grow, but at the very least work in some automated manner.

On the farsical level of life, cyber could even embarassingly imply cybersex — this sort of mental human fluid activity — a sort of flowing energy that comes to life as we log in + participate in the online supplement to real-life 'out there' in the metaverse. There is a parallel world — a different conversationStream that we're all simultaneously participating in when we 'go online' — whatever that means. To some of us, its more real than reallife itself ( + this is an unfortunate consequence of our electronic lives, swimming in the infoSphere of click interactions ) — to others, its more Surreal than imaginedlife itself ( + this is a fortunate new playground facilitating freedom + innovative new ways to participate + manipulate the world we really live in ... all things possible kind of sh!t ... we can really make things happen through our cyberinteractivity that just could not happen before ... both good + bad ... + this is good, right? well, we need to examine these new behaviors case by case, I'm sure ).

And then Surrealism — the belief and revolutionary movement in embracing all things beyond reality, in some ways better than reality — the movement started by André Breton, then augmented + supported by the writers + artists of the 1920s onward — Benjamin Peret, Salvador Dalí, Méret Oppenheim, Luis Buñuel, Frida Kahlo, Philippe Souppoult, Francis Picabia, Max Ernst, Leonora Carrington, and so on — much of what the original movement espoused and imbued is quite literally automatic at this point + time, which opens up entire new dimensions of what Surrealism can now become in both the imagined + real level of creation. Objects buzz in our pockets + little personal messages come to us like magic. We tell each other, we tell veritable daily strangers, our up-to-date geolocation in the world + precise information about the most ludicrously mundane details of our existence in ways never previously conceived possible except perhaps as a description for mindreading. Technological progress simultaneously kills some of the magic of life + births new magics beyond logical comprehension. What would Dalí do with these data-driven opportunities to express the Freudian-slip paranoic in visual or interactive form? How would Kahlo's torment translate to an interactive paradigm? Perhaps portraits of personal pain could be managed using the wonderful new medications so rampant + omnipresent on television + in our cornerstore pharmacies. What strange new interactive narrative might unfold.

Beyond reinterpretation of the Surrealist classics — what new individual expressions of Surrealism blossom from this marriage of cyberSpace, cybernetics or the cyberSexual and Surrealism? And what if, perhaps, we turn the screw + take another look at what the cyber part might mean to us as creatives in this space?

What if beyond the noun-like interpretations of all things cyber we put a spin on this delicious suffix to think of it more as an action-based concept? Maybe our augmentation of the Surreal is performed through cybernetic means? Maybe the Surreal is our muse, the thing or object ( or even experience I would surmise at this critical juncture ) we aim to create — and then the means by which we create, the process if you will, is the cybernetic part. A self-regulating journey that uses the concept of the automatic response mechanism — this 'pure psychic automism' that Br—ton so nicely describes — a sort of translation engine that directly expresses thought in action. The perfect union. The slip and sway from thought to action and back again. The living thought process. The mind exposed. The 'Dictation of thought in the absence of all control exercised by reason, outside of all aesthetic and moral preoccupation' ( Br—ton again ). Once one work is complete, the artist then reacts to the work just made, moving on to the next piece, each piece building from the previous, each piece showing some microcosmic personal aspect of growth or progress. Evolution. This might be the cybernetic feedback loop we're looking for.

To get to this point, this extremely creative + continual energy of productive response + play, takes years + years of loosening up. Giving up preconceptions + control issues. Breaking down the judgmental inner voice, or maybe exposing it as part of the process if she's so loud + strong, to work in a new way.

But I might be getting ahead of myself here ;]