Comparison to Surrealism
Surrealism was clearly a study of objects. By reconstructing – through word, thought, and paintbrush – those overused, commonplace items that surround us in our conscious state, the surrealists attempted to change notions of reality by pointing out the hidden meanings of objects. In this manner, identity was dissolved, dream and reality were mixed, and a new superior reality was created through the transformation of an old product into a new product.
Prerealism, however, concerns itself with the process and not the product. Prerealism does not wish to express a state above and beyond reality since it attempts to describe the mechanism existing before reality. It deals with the creative force within us all that produces those objects that become a part of our reality.
Unlike surrealism, prerealism is not a lifestyle but a form of expression – a summons to create. Prerealism could never be a lifestyle since it describes pure, unbridled creative energy, devoid of human conditioning or intentions. In this sense, a truly prerealistic lifestyle could only be achieved before birth, during the horror of severe madness, and after death.
Intent of Prerealism
The true, honest intention of prerealism is to incite, provoke, and perpetuate the will to create regardless of age, cultural background, or social class. Prerealism will accomplish this by building a platform. This platform will be constructed with solid reasoning, attention to detail, and the best possible organization; it will be a remarkable feat of both science and philosophy. This platform, of course, is solidly based in reality, as are the processes that brought about its construction. With the platform fully constructed, safe and secure, and acceptable for use by the general public (it may be some time before this is accomplished), it may be used for the next step. This platform is but a springboard that allows anyone to dive into the creative potential we all have trapped deep within us.
Although there may be hesitation and fear at first, continued practise and support from others will diminish these drawbacks. We may dive in again and again, always assured that we will resurface. The experience is, after all, a transient one; we merely move in and out. Evidence of our experiences takes the form of the products we create. Of course, the type of expression you choose, and the final product itself, is based solely in reality and is influenced by external stimuli of all sorts. However, it is your personal diving style and ability to hone your technique that leads to a completely uncontaminated process of creation. The resulting product, although based in reality, is pure, honest, and highly original. This is true prerealism.
Prerealism is a movement – simple and flexible – that allows you to experiment freely with creation. It allows for growth and does not demand immediate results. But it does demand that you do something. It demands an honest effort to better yourself through the act of creation, although it might take some time before you realize that you are actually bettering yourself. Do not think for a minute that you are alone, or that you will be criticized for trying, because prerealism is an honest attempt at uniting several people, all of whom have shed the mask of realism through focusing creative energies. In the end, a type of community is formed that is more honest, open, and aware. No talents are hidden and the creation of one serves to inspire another, and another, and so on . Sparks of creation precede the flames. The resulting collective creative force – all pure, all original – can not be ignored and will not be forgotten by all those involved and all those who sat on the sidelines and envied the attempt.
Mechanics of the Prerealist Process
Although the final product is obviously based in reality – and accordingly is contaminated by external influences, such as the learned ability to write or draw – how can people be guaranteed that the process itself is uncontaminated ? How can they be sure that they are diving into pristine creative energies ? Of course, prerealism advocates a return to the child-like will to create because, amongst other things, children are less exposed to reality. To rekindle the childhood will to create is to rekindle a more honest, unmanipulated creative force. However, it can not be denied that children are greatly influenced by notions of reality. The proliferation of modern technology speeds up the rate of their experience and may effectively hypnotise them at an early age. Then where will this purity of creation come from and how on earth can anyone truly achieve it ?
The answer lies in the mysteries of the human mind. The human mind is as vast and complex as the universe itself. The mystery thickens with the knowledge that our meagre five senses are only capable of perceiving one tenth of that which is around us (personally, I think it’s more like one billionth, although to describe the fraction of our universe we perceive using a numerical system developed by humans is highly anthropocentric and presumptuous at best). Accordingly, we lack the insight, experience, and knowledge to comprehend what really goes on in our minds and why. No amount of scientific research can clearly explain why we dream, why we experience deja-vu, why memories can exist of things foreign to conscious existence, and why some people are sensitive to psychic phenomena. This is compounded by the fact that both science and modern medicine can not explain the mechanics of the mind including, for example, the purpose and function of the pineal gland.
Clearly, in the vast, unexplored (unexplorable ?) nebula that is the human mind there lies regions untouched, or highly resistant, to what humans call ‘reality’. Such regions are impossible to describe in human terms, based on our limited experience and inadequate senses, but they undoubtedly contribute to the overall functioning of the brain. It is these regions that prerealism will attempt to explore, regions that have caused humans wonderment and awe throughout the ages, regardless of the state of science or technology. The platform will have to be high for such a dive, and much practise is needed, yet the rewards are enormous.
Defining Prerealist Work
Concern has been raised regarding what work can be considered prerealist and what can not. Specifically, there is concern that people may use the ideology of prerealism to justify the production of ‘inferior creative products’. It is feared that prerealism will be used as an excuse for sloppiness, laziness, and irresponsibility. Concerns centre around the fact that prerealism is about the creative process itself, about stirring dormant talents within us all, without regard for the final product, including the quality of that product. This is of course completely true, and in this regard anyone can be considered a prerealist.
By emphasizing the creative process itself (pre), the final product (realism) is not as important in that it can be interpreted many ways, and the creator may not even be aware of the reasoning behind the creation. Yet, as a crystallization of the creative process hidden within the individual, the product in some way represents that person more effectively than a carefully thought out piece determined by preconceived ideas and indoctrination. Thus, if that product turns out to be ‘garbage’, by the standards of those who think they’re fit to judge or by the majority, then that individual can still claim to have made a prerealist work. The justification being that the creator has made the attempt to stir creative forces within themselves, forces that were long since abandoned or forgotten. Of course, the final product will not always be ‘good’ by any standards. No one can expect to enjoy great success their first time out, in which case constructive criticism will be offered to help them along and encourage further creation, while taking care to respect that person’s individuality.
This is what prerealism is all about. Its about awakening hidden talents within us all, practising the use of those talents, honing our skills, and finally (hopefully) at one point ended up with a product that is the true crystallization of uncontaminated, highly personal creative energies. It can only be hoped that the prerealist process will be used with honesty and responsibility.
If misused, or if used merely as a smoke-screen to justify a work that the creator knows did not come from the heart or was created to purposely offend or discredit others, it will undoubtedly embarrass the creator long before it will discredit the movement. For there can not help but be an honesty to prerealism. The intent is simple and directed at the individual. The individual will realize they’ve created a prerealist work when they are unsure of what they have created or why, yet they are excited and somewhat optimistic about the end result all the same.
This teetering between uncertainty and optimism, between excitement and fear (fear of the process within them, fear of the product, or fear of criticism) signifies the creation of an honest, highly individualistic, highly personal, and therefore highly original piece of work. You’ll know that you’ve created a true prerealist work when you are overwhelmed by such feelings – feelings perhaps you’ve never felt before. This is the catharsis, casting off those elements of reality that weigh you down. This is the reasoning and the justification behind creation – the painful honesty, the exploration of parts of the psyche untouched before – and the product is there as a testament to your creativity, allowing you to cherish the experience and share it with others.
Copyright © 1995 by Cameron A. Straughan