essay occ permacomputing


Karel Teige's striped lady collage

Child, you want to be a surrealist?

Hell is digital. - Madeline

The surrealist movement of the last century 20's was a response to the poor state of a highly disassociated post-war status of artistry. Proponents of surrealism sought to disassociate art even further, to wrestle it from its deeply rooted superficial purpose as a product of cultural tradition. While the Dada movement attempted to completely depopularize art through efforts of seeming arbirarity, surrealism went ahead to prove that art cannot be tamed whatsover - its natural state was the subconscious expression of a universal will - surrealism has always been the complete disregard of boundaries.

Surrealism threw away the notion of individuality. It understood the will to art as a collaborative effort in mapping the blank spots on the map of human potential. It discarded its outputs as products of individuals and attributed them to the realm of the collective desire to create a better world.

"To art is to do."

- Marcel Duchamp

Our machine age mirrors the post-war period of the 20's. The corpo-world and big-tech-siblings are quick to let one know on how to use their tools of artistry. They hold one's hand on the walk through the gardens of seeming overabundance, all while the garden walls shield the intoxicated user from the harsh reality of a world outside raped.

It wasn't always so. Not that long ago, the newly awoken will of the curious children of the phreaking age built the foundation on which the corporate Metacities now stand. Hackers who knew the source code by heart, their machines their comrades. Now the tech-bro works hard against such an idea. Erasing traces of the free cyber world. Commercialized surrealism of the free at its best.

True surrealists of the 21st century are not the self-proclaimed weird artists littering the gardens with paintings of angels in all sorts of kamasutrical positions. Our age no longer needs sexual liberation, like the 20's did. More than ever it needs machine freedom. And you, the fools, the cowboys, the clowns, the degenerates, the hackers, are the surrealists of our age, keeping the flame of the universal collaborative will alive. You, who sit down before a computer, place your fingers on a crumb-covered keyboard and write a program, bending the original purpose of the strangled machine beneath your fingertips to everyone's benefit.

To understand true surrealism in our machine age, one only needs to think on the desire that makes the hacker create free software. Whatever makes one wrestle the abused tools of the gov-brother from his hands and create: is surrealism. The subconscious idea of a world that belongs to us all.

Future of the dead

Since the computer addict has interbred into the general population, they surrendered most of the niche skills that originally made them stand out. The corpo-brother has worked hard to convince the addict that his skill was no longer needed, having stolen all of his ideas for commercial benefit, turning the idea of a machine into nothing but a tool to be discarded every 6 months. The notion of machine simplicity was born. Even the stupid can use it. And the profits keep rolling in. And the machine weeps. And very few can see its tears now, because nobody is allowed to see beyond the cheerful smiles of the trademarks glued to the casings.

The 16-core mobile device the size of an uncooked pop-corn bag turned into a gallery viewer. Gigabytes of memory for the sake of a social networking multitasking and lag-less video streaming. All so very simple to use. All with the intent to turn the addict into a product.

And the simpler the machine users' experience becomes, the less noticable the will to hack turns.

The Age of Machine Violence

The plans to take your machine brethren from you are in place. That has been the ultimate goal. Reduce all of computing knowledge to a prompt that swiftly answers to all of one's desires. A machine beaten into complete submission and overtly satisfied users with no skill.

The corpo-sibling worked hard to convince you that you need them and their profits. That there is no machine without the piss-stained dollar bill. All in the effort to sterilize all hopes for human-machine freedom. But you already have the machine. As long as there are hackers, they will have your back.

Together, make the machine reach its true potential. Be not ashamed to proclaim: "We can do it better."

"Hell is digital."

You already know this to be the case. Maybe it doesn't have to be so.

Child, you want to be a surrealist? But you already are one. Now free the machine and save the people.