a point of departure

As the  social relationships between people were becoming increasingly mediated by images,  and the symbols of consumption such as cars, neon signs, and shops became ever more seductive and signs of social status and personal identity, the process of  deindustrialisation continued to spread  slowly throughout  the manufacturing highways of  South Australia.  For the blue collar, white  working class  in Adelaide who were losing their jobs a result,   consumer society’s promised land of a better  middle class life for all seemed to move further away into the distance.

The  process  of deindustrialization meant that the realities of the world experienced by ordinary people stood in  marked contrast to the glossy spectacle  image-text  world of commodified experience. If there was a space for a weighing of the actual against the promised, there was  yet no popular reaction to the neo-liberal globalisation.

Rundle Mall

Rundle Mall

There was, however,  a cultural tradition of a  poetic and sensual desire to be intensely  living in the world, feeling its most intimate reality, through a turning away from the cultural, moral, intellectual, and political values of the prevailing social order  to  the world of play,  creativity within the functional drudgery of contemporary urban life.

Such a poetics is a search for a creativity and desires stripped of the layers of social convention and meaning  a  poetics capable of discovering and expressing the horrors and marvels of contemporary experience, and  expose the poverty of an everyday  reality organised solely for the perpetuation of the social order of industrial capitalism.

sleeping man, King William St

sleeping man, King William St

Aimless strolls in the city that let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there open up the ground of a new realm of experiment with the possibilities of everyday experience. Surrealism had invoked a world of floating encounters through which the hunter of marvels drifts according to whim and desire. The  surrealist’s emphasis  is on events marked by the eruption of the marvellous into ordinary experience: stunning and haphazard moments  which  expresses all that is unexpected, fresh, awesome, and vertiginous in  a world experienced as a mundane and dull causality.

 However, instead of surrendering to the dictates of an unconscious mind or irrational force, the Situationist artist  notices the way in which certain areas, streets, or buildings resonate with states of mind, inclinations, and desires.  They  seek out reasons for movement other than those for which an  urban environment–a shopping mall— was designed.
making music

making music

Given  the removal of art to a separated realm in which it is practised by a few specialists within well-defined perimeters that celebrated originality, genius, and artistic form, the drifting  through the everyday urban life in the modern city is the ground  that opens up the gap between desire and the false promise of its fulfilment. This gap provides a space  for play, festivity, spontaneity, creativity and the imagination.

 

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