Manifesto of Urban Surrealism
by James Harrison and Lew Crews
as delivered at the Viscount Ballroom, Portland Oregon June 18, 2000
Dr. Malbon: (James Harrison)
Fellow artists, bureaucrats, administrators, planners, and the merely curious - We hereby announce the formation of :
The Congress for Urban Surrealism!
It is our mission to keep the funk factor alive and well in our urban environments, and to ensure that our cities nurture their artists, poets, card carrying sandwich board lunatics, village idiots, and other persons of colorfulness. Why aim for density without striving for immensity and intensity! Planning alone won't get us to the throne! Let us remarry the ridiculous and the practical, the outrageous and the rational, the banal and the colorful, for the benefit of all citizens! Urban life is supposed to be funky!
Diogenes: (Lew Crews) I have very specific parameters for density. I believe in density, I embrace density - I want to see condos - nay rowhouses constructed entirely of freeze dried banana slugs and fish eyes!
Dr. Malbon: Therefore and resulting from the above statements, we proclaim the following litany of preposterous proposals:
1. Increase the Urban Funk Factor! No net loss of Urban Funk ! i.e. sustainable funk! If a piece of urban funk is removed it must be replaced with something equally funky! examples of endangered funk past present and future include the Weinhard Brewery, the neon signs along Interstate, The Portland Outdoor Store sign, the Lovejoy Columns, the Shanghai Tunnels, the door underneath the Morrison Bridge, your mama's basement, and a host of others. Therefore let us form the Endangered Funk Inventory with a corresponding Funk Factor Quotient!
2. Include artists and other creative bureaucrats higher on the food chain of important urban decisions. It should be self evident that you need creative people if you want creative solutions- and in these great economic times, much of what is being built is unabashedly banal. Let us work together to reverse this trend. Planning is important, but creativity is crucial! Art is not a sprig of parsley on the side of your plate- it is the smorgasbord of the supernatural.
Diogenes: -No it's not, it's the Tar Paper Sandwich of the SouL!
3. Eliminate all negative numbers from our banking system! The impact this will have on debt will be immediately apparent!
4. We artists refuse to be the patsies of gentrification- but rather the harbingers of vitality!
5. Implore our artists to embrace bureaucracy! Dare to walk unafraid into the valley of paperwork! Your cities need you, and your creative ideas! Don't wait to be asked! If artists don't present the good ideas, then who are we leaving it up to ?
6. Increase our reliance on the canoe and brown shoes as alternative forms of transportation! Institute a take your canoe to work day program! Eliminate Velcro! Outlaw dandruff inside the Urban Growth Boundary! Stand fast against the tide of banality! The vitality of our planet depends upon our diversity, variety, and multiplicity!
Diogenes: The vitality of our planet actually depends upon forces far beyond your feeble comprehension- so put a sock in it!
Dr. Malbon: Now Please go forth and multiply in strange ways- for it is copulation that leads to conception! Brought to you by the Rarified Institute for Growing Gigantic Anomalies. with pluralism and difference for all. Thank you
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