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Nothing is allowed.
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« Automatism which is used here is as old as the world, as old as free dancing, singing and speaking. Its novelty is that, before surrealism, nobody though that this mode of expression could be used to get a better understanding of human beings. »  Paul-Émile Borduas, 1947*.

 

Overcoming censorship and self-censorship to express ourselves freely and directly is both our urgency and our challenge. How can we subvert the economic, emotional and intellectual repression that prevents us from making ourselves heard, that stops us from expressing what we are, our relationships, hopes and fears, love and hatred, desires and needs?

We draw from the experience of the Automatists an approach that makes it possible to continue this endeavour today. Their attempts are obviously not the only ones, but their approach – which refuses to prioritise intention and rejects any prerequesite limits or conditions – has the potential to take us to new and unknown territories that we could not reach otherwise. The unprecedented outcome that may result illustrates our power to foil, if only temporarily or partially, this pervading repression. Automatism therefore offers a fertile perspective for inventing.

We know that this freedom of expression we are seeking is part and parcel of our collective liberation everywhere in the world. And if our endeavours are part of this general liberation, they become also accelerators of that movement.

Today, the expansion of the Internet has made it possible for us and more people – not only for the comfortable classes – to express ourselves socially and share with each other our discoveries and inventions. This is a new expression that we carry in our vital movement and which at the same time carries us away. It is our hope that the visitors of this website will pursue in their own way what is proposed here, alone or with others, here and elsewhere.

 

London, April 2005.

 

*Paul-Émile Borduas, Parlons un peu peinture, 1947. Reproduced in Refus Global et autres écrits, Éditions TYPO / L’Hexagone, 1997. (our translation)