Infantilism Night

On March 21, 2019 the Ottawa Surrealist Group had its first official “infantilism night”. L, SH, PP and JA convened at a dessert shop, where a whole evening was dedicated to pursuing the spectre of childhood, its irrationalisms, holdovers, dreams, obsessions, and potential mobilization against the banalities of everyday life. All while eating sweets.

infantlilism drawing 5 JA PP L SH

Crayons, children’s books, precious stuffed animals and drawings were ritually arranged and played with in order to invoke regressive mental states.

A surrealist inquiry into childhood and infantile behaviour was held.

Highlights include:

  • Childhood rituals, sacred objects, the blocking out of nocturnal whispers with fingers in ears…
  • Childhood aversions, including aversions to cucumbers, shrimp, African creamed corn, telephones;
  • Childhood worship; maternal gifts of snowglobes, or sacred utopian cities visited by adults on business trips (Edmonton?)
  • The revelation of a childhood identification of one member with spiders, to the point where they would eat flies;
  • The elaboration of several childhood dreams involving nightmarish lights, erectile multifunctions, and of course parental monsters (whether nude, tandem-bicycling over perilous heights, mind-reading, or robotic…)
  • The tick-tock-tick-tocking of the grandparent’s grandfather clock, resonating in the mind…
  • The exploration of childhood obsessions with real and virtual portals, hidden pirate kingdoms, clambering around waterfall edges for secret caves, tornadoes in school bathroom vents, potential that existed in the imagination but pressured real life pursuits…

We created childlike collective windows onto secret worlds…

homunculi

…found some contemporary children’s dino-art at a junk shop, calling out for dino-surrealist Vittoria Lion, a childhood friend met in adulthood…

Found dino art

…and used some children’s books as a medium for surrealist games, delirium, poetry…

masturbation machinework1
I am gentle.
I am white.
I say “Baa.”
I am a tractor.
*
I am brave.
I roar.
I have a mane.
I am a bucket.
*
I am proud.
I can sing.
I have two legs.
I am a tilapia.
eyesproclaiming the rodent king
For those interested in more specific details from the game night, inquiry responses, or to send us thoughts on your own infantile experiences, please contact chimera.ipa@gmail.com

 

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What’s on the other side of the forest?

LIVE ACTION IRRATIONAL ENLARGEMENT OF A PAINTING FOR SALE AT A COFFEE SHOP

Q: Who built the building?

PP/SH: A Mormon from east-middle school, St. Petersburg, Ohio, who worships consciousness.

Q: Where does the river flow?

SH: Out of a mouthpiece of a giant helmet, which is itself made of water. An ice-helmet.

PP: A wormhole of matter.

Q: What colour is the grass at night?

JA: The colour of a maniac’s wet dream.

SH: It pulses with the iridescent tips of penises.

PP: Midway remnants of the Sun.

Q: What lives under the bridge?

SH/PP: An insane Castilian with a mop who is continuously mopping the river and straining it out into a bucket of emptiness while his wife twirls like a dervish beside him.

Q: Who lives in the castle?

JA/PP: Sa’ad (SH)’s doppelgänger, with chrome teeth and a patch on his eye.

SH: A slippery eel made from the wax of a child’s tears.

Q: If the river is not water, what is it?

PP: A viscous fluid of anthropomorphic immeasurability.

JA: The cotton candy that comes out of processed nightmares.

SH: An out of control gay orgy where the sweat and semen are so sparkling with unfulfilled lust that it turns blue.

Q: Describe the rocks.

SH: The buttocks of ashen maidens sticking out of the water so that sailors can look and say “no thanks.”

JA: Whatever they are, they are hungry.

Q: What’s on the other side of the forest?

PP: A penitentiary for mentally ill children born in the castle and deemed unfathomably radioactive.

SH: A prism made from irises of such unbelievable complexity that all light beams refract inside it in ever newer patterns, and never escape.

Q: Describe the smell of the air.

SH: Like harsh bleach and the howling of disrespective housewives.

JA: Like frequent tigers.

PP: And mist like an elephant’s trumpet.

Q: What happens to this scene at the end of time?

PP: The earth erupts under its foundations.

SH: A man with unbearable OCD is asked a very difficult question and he smooths the whole thing away with his worrying hands.

PP: It turns out he’s an alien, and he had a spaceship in the cellar. He takes off into the sky.

-January 31 2019.

Pertinent Questions

Questions breed questions…

What do you want your tombstone to look like?

What do you fear from the reaper?

Does a very long sickle resemble a rope?

Isn’t a noose a legitimate farm-tool in today’s farms?

Isn’t suicide a kind of organic produce?

What dangles in the produce aisle?

What do we identify as the lintels in a grocery structure?

What is the foundation of hunter-gatherer folksong?

Does physics and its laws harmonize in the cherry-picked mind?

Is there physical determinism present in the structure of a dirty, guilty, sexual fantasy?

Are there forms of fantasy which relate only to root vegetables?

Can a fattened lip be boiled in a witches cauldron?

Is a yeti-lipped vagina a socio-sexual liability?
-JA, LL, SH, October 4 2018

The Catoblapas Roars

Selected Characters

We’ve met some interesting people recently…

 

The Gentleman Thief

Without any stop of the maker’s hand

Who makes ligature from his skin

For Queen and Country.

 

This disrobing escort

Without fear of the consequences

Who overcomplicates

For his aptitude of folding nothing.

 

The theorem

Without constraints to its birth

Which makes good on a promise

For the great burden of existence.

MM, JA, SH, PPAugust 22 2018

Shadowman and Shadowchild

Always trust the man with the hat;
The shadowman leads an alien into a black void.
An alien headed child.
There’s an eyeball at the bottom of the poll.
A soviet criminal murderer.
She bled her shadow on the wall inappropriately.
There’s a hole in the sign,
The sign looks like a tree…

All the broken symbols beckon from the window
And with a bolt it strikes and fractures the glass into insignificant specks
Under the microscope they resemble a stain on an inside-out goat.

 

 


-JA, PP, MM, interpreting photos sent to us from Graz by Dunja Apostolov on July 16th 2018

A Vernissage Avoided

A Non-Visit to the University of Ottawa Bachelor of Arts Graduation Vernissage, April 27 2018.

What first caught our eye was the rusty grate underneath the entrance. This it turns out couldn’t be called anything but “The Missing Troll”. We admired the attention to detail in the rust. The string was a charming Dargerian touch. A classic, tasteful use of dried leaves and rocks added to the elegance. We also noted with pleasure the smatterings of garbage here and there. What it could have used was something actually sleeping inside, though this might have ruined the palpable sight of invisibility

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Nearby, we encountered a startling portrait and/or modernist architectural design, an air conditioner paired with an empty generic coffee cup which was no doubt entitled “A Sort of Irony”. We admired the dappling effect on the conditioner which may have been a bust, a face, or a building, but we had to agree that the coffee cup itself was the real centrepiece. The vines were nice but the single melodramatic leaf on the cup was kitsch, perhaps in a good way or not. Where the pigs are butchered, where the meat is sold.

Air Conditioner
A Portrait? A Meat Factory?

Climbing up the steps gave us a moment to admire an excellent grey bag which draped itself dramatically at our feet. This motif appears to be a reference to The Shroud of Turin, as featured in /kaɪˈmɪərə/’s unreleasable vaporware fourth issue. It is perhaps a city-mouse relative to the same school of design. As the shroud was determined to be a sort of garment, we may conjecture that the bag is a sort of haute couture showpiece for the seldom noticed Ottawa Faceless Bureaucrat, a ubiquitous creature rarely seen because it camouflages so with stale, dusty air.

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Insiders have dubbed this submission “The Self-Hooding Auto-asphyxiation Hood.”
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The Shroud of Turin. Notice the repetition of the sand dune wavelets as a staircase, above.

Looking at the actual door, we noticed a beautiful, neo-medievalist diptych with strong allegorical symbolism. This had to be called “The Magnanimous Excommunication”. The two hands pointing, one representing the heavenly sphere, and the other, more crooked by an estimated 2 degrees, representing earthly imperfection. Upon reading the motto we then realised that we were at the wrong door. And so we had begun by unintentionally starting at the back-entrance of the exhibition, the same building being both 100 Laurier and 600 Cumberland street, depending on who you asked.

IMG_20180427_175914.jpg

Stepping inside we noticed the first of what turned out to be a continuing motif of several very beautiful, almost neoclassical white heaters throughout the building. These had fine, Grecian composition and an almost Doric gravitas. We debated whether such things were pure aesthetic items or functional.

heater.jpg
Classicism Abounds

We block the front door for a long while admiring a particularly blurry old panel—we wonder whether it is a found-object equivalent to asemic writing, or perhaps an artistic palimpsest recovered from a sorcerer’s grimoire. A man asks us if we can read the names. Believing that his test is a trick question, we utter no definite answer.

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A map of the exhibition somehow being given to us, we make sure to disorient ourselves throughout the tour by actually trying to read it. We are reminded of the circuit diagrams older integrated systems used to print with their programming manuals, technology being a major component of contemporary art.

A coat hanger and coat rack combination; at first a pagan temple deity, then a serial killer’s murder victims, on the order of 15 or so. Death by taxidermy. Who is responsible? It was determined to be not the butler but someone with influence; the mayor? A big metal mailbox system is the morgue.

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A morgue for bodies left over from skinned coats (not pictured, for modesty’s sake).

We are very lost. There are penguins everywhere. We go downstairs. There is a sequence of three garbage cans which we dub “The Modern Venus”. Always coffee cups. An emergency phone which reads SOS (a pun on “sauce”) using a telephone to play on the trendy topic of synaesthesia.

 

Nearby, “I am what I eat” and a toilet that doesn’t flush (which one is the artwork?). The railing of a staircase is determined to be a goat’s horn. A room from a Japanese light novel with murder and mystery involving an after school club, very dark.

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Club room. A virus attack. We spew out very loud associative chains, silencing everyone else in the room, including the artist. The hair is a cave. What is in the cave? An ice worm. A moose. A stop sign. A man carrying a stop sign in outline. A protest. Is it edible? A lollipop.

A door for an elf and a hobbit. We go upstairs and downstairs as you like.

There is a visitor’s book laid out for each artist, usually lavishing simple encouragement and praise, so we cannot resist the urge to fill some of them with automatic writing and drawings:

Automatism

“Where does the ape live when it loses the first leader of its own fire? Blast the horse with its own collar into the seemless.”

“I loom in NO horror I beg the fishermen for sweet tea of eyes.”

“The mysterious universe screams out to me from beyond my fridge where is my wallet?”

“The Tulpa I envision when I think of flowers is more like a crow that eats the tongues of those that tease me.”

“I disagree wholeheartedly with this nonsense!”

“Eyes Worms”

“Bee Stings”

“Sweet OH yes”

Guests

At one point, LL launches an impromptu exhibition on the door to a gender-neutral bathroom, a sort of participatory installation commenting on the act of gendering as othering.

Impromptu (2)

Fragments beneath a window-sill; nails, a lock, some scotch tape instructions. A message from The Administration: “Please do not lock(ed) this door”.

We consider trying to make an offer to some of the more promising artists of all the benefits of surrealism: the chance to be ignored, profitless, poor, avoided, obscure, mad etc. “Stick with us, kid…”

As for the artworks, we quickly disposed of the obligation of actually reviewing them by means of a simple, and loud, analogical game. It was determined after some discussion that the closest companion to an art gallery we could think of was the barnyard, its different animals and products. Thus, substituting the barnyard entity we associated with each artist’s section, in order of appearance, we encountered:

Artist 1 – nonspecific eggs
Artist 2 – fishing worms, maybe an earwig
Artist 3 – slaughtered beef, ground beef
Artist 4 – goats, their horns, and the junk that they eat
Artist 5 – pigs, blood, chunks, and a vampire
Artist 6 – emus
Artist 7 – chupacabra
Artist 8 – horses
Artist 9 – honeybees
Artist 10 – maple syrup trees
Artist 11 – eels
Artist 12 – crows
Artist 13 – tengu farm
Artist 14 – dogs made out of bananas
Artist 15 – a baseball farm with horses as camouflage
Artist 16 – a fairy farm
Artist 17 – a limb farm

At the end of the night, overhearing someone talking about one of the award-winning students being extra-worthy of attention, we came up with some awards that should be given out that night, but then forget to award them to any specific artist:

Best Self-Tokenization
Most Self-Hating
Least Stable Bowels
Hungriest
Most Similar to the Floorboards
Prize Pig

In retrospect, LL awards himself “The Best Self-Tokenization” award for his unsolicited addition as a tranny.