Nothing is allowed.
Everything is possible.
« 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*.
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
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.