While the exact functioning of the machins (aka how do they exactly affect politics/society) is still a big question mark in my mind, I’ve found that the early surrealist philosophy explains -still in abstract terms- what it is i’m trying to achieve through the project.
“The whole purpose behind surrealism’s treatment of physical reality is to surmount the debilitating sense of the arbitrary and to project, in its place, a refreshing feeling of unity, in which the inner existence of consciousness and outer reality are no longer in conflict.
As a part of two conflicting worlds, the surrealist object is a bridge between them, “diminish[ing] the sense of alienation that so often separates [the mind] from [its] material environment.”
This unique participation in material reality makes surrealist objects especially capable of affecting change; in fact, their surrealist success depends on it.
Paul Nougé, a spearhead for the development of surrealism in Belgium, insisted that “it is not enough to create an object, it is not enough for it to be. We must show that it can, by some artifice, arouse in the spectator, the desire, the need to see.” This “need to see” sparks an understanding of reality that desires its alteration. As such, surrealist objects are “the medium by which the enlargement of our conception of reality is to be achieved”—the ultimate tool for attuning mankind to the facts of his existence while awakening his potential to change them.”
First published in 1928, André Breton’s Nadja is the true story of the author’s mysterious encounter and complex relationship with the eponymous character.
Nadja’s identification with chance, her ability to transform the trivial into the marvelous, her limitless imagination and unconformity—all of these surrealist traits are important for Breton insofar as they stand for the possible disruption of bourgeois norms.
For Breton, Nadja—‘this always inspired and inspiring creature who enjoyed being nowhere but in the streets,’ the ‘free genius’ emancipated from the ‘jail of logic’ (Breton 1999: 154)—champions the applicability of surrealist philosophy.
Surrealism was unique in that it constantly identified the starting point of social change with the liberation of the individual psyche. […] From a political point of view, repression of subconscious desires and modes of thought was seen as the very mechanism that perpetuated the negative values of bourgeois society, in particular the supreme importance of socially productive work along with the oppression of the worker