Concrete manifestos: the surrealists

The Surrealists explored it all

© Keva Epale

I believe in the future resolution of these two states, dream and reality, which are seemingly so contradictory, into a kind of absolute reality, a surreality, if one may so speak.

© Dali museum, Big ideas: the Surrealists

Surrealism is an art movement that shaped the art world and our pop culture. The surrealists were formed in 1924 in reaction to post-war, made of poets, artists and thinkers who had revolutionary ideas of the era they were living in.
From the trauma of war and the narrow-mindedness of the society, they wanted to re-invent and challenge the way we saw our reality through the creative process.

Their manifesto is a result of experiments they did exploring an automatic language and expression. Within the literary field, It later expanded to arts, photography, cinema and more. Their enthusiastic goal was to unleash a dream state into our reality, capturing the essence of somewhat called unconsciousness.

Surrealists manifesto: Poisson soluble published in 1924.

They had big ideas and it needed to be gathered

André Breton who is one of the founders of the movement was quite interesting in his approach to creating the manifesto of the surrealists. He was creative and political, he wanted to understand states of creation especially in poetry, and that quest led him to create the goals and vision of the surrealist movement.

Automatic writing
He played with words, with forms of writing, solo or at several hands, but also with time and movement. That physical and active exploration was liberating and became a catalyst for the Book ‘’Poisson soluble’’ which is the name of the manifesto. A set of experiments and principles discovered through his playful and innovative way of writing, the reveal resulted in collaborating and connecting with unconsciousness.

Out of logic is the word, the manifesto exercise is also a stage for unconscious thoughts, beliefs, dreams and ambitions to surface. From that unconventional, surprising and sometimes shocking pieces of content, the Surrealists were able to express a way of living in a society free from any boundaries.

They were advocates of unexpected associations that revealed possibilities. They had several techniques such as collages, frottages, superpositions, mismatches and more that they explored in their various masterpieces. Their automatic approach is a powerful insight on the manifesto exercise.

I encourage you to explore and discover more of this movement, here is a fun and delightful immersion by the Dali Museum.

They invented creative experiments

Cadavre exquis © André Breton

They also invented numerous creative experiments such as the cadavre exquis, where several hands, meaning several people, sketch or write one piece at a time of the final design.

This capacity to create at several people or in different temporalities can be an asset for you in the manifesto exercise. The surrender and active participation needed in such an exercise can be supported by the playful Cadavre exquis.
So many concepts and ideas have birthed using this surrealists game, the goal, of course, is not perfection but instead unexpected answers that can reveal more to your project than sitting for more than 3 hours in front of a blank page. Download my Cadavre exquis

Each of them developed a strong personality and language

The natives of the movement were French, Belgian and more. They expressed subversive and innovative ways of expression, each of them from poetry to film created their unique language within the movement with a core goal giving birth to their style and taste for the Surrealists growth.
Your explorations won’t be perfect, but they will have a tone and that tone is a key ingredient to what is to come, which is your branding and storytelling.

From Salvador Dalí to Man Ray or even Leonora Carrington (because women also belonged to the movement) the personalities evolved between introverts and extroverts. Dali brought to the Surrealist movement a new eye, spontaneous and impertinent, which allowed other artists to discover, join and challenge the vision of the manifesto.

You don’t have to be exuberant to find your unique way of embodying your manifesto, allowing diverse inspirations to refine and reveal the way you express your vision is an optimistic step.

The manifesto is flexible, it grows as you grow, with the people, you encounter and collaborate with. My goal is for you to take the spirit of the surrealists, explore and experiment the best you can because that liberty will nurture your concrete strategies.

I believe the manifesto is to be challenged, in the sense that if you feel you have evolved and it needs to be redefined then do! Allow a Salvador Dalí to enter the arena and bring a new spark into it.

From art to you © Keva Epale studio

5 exercises you can do today and start the process

  1. Write down 3 values you are motivated by and explain why
  2. For 3 minutes write, doodle or even record how you envision your idea, concept or company in 3 months?
  3. State 7 reasons why you can achieve what you have in mind in the next 2 or 3 months
  4. For 5 days write down on a board a word that defines your mindset towards your goal
  5. Using my manifesto bonus write as many words that come into your mind concerning your project. Download here

If you feel like doing these little exercises, I can only advise you to do them, and keep discovering the theme!

On my website, you can discover more goodies and tips to help you start the process.

👉 Next time we will explore the Manifesto of New-york based startup Holstee.

I like storytelling and capturing stories. I use graphic design, illustration & co in order to do it!

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