Man Ray, Waking Dream Séance (image first published on the cover of La revolution surrealiste, 01/12/24). The seated woman is Simone Breton; standing around her (from left to right) are Max Morise, Roger Vitrac, Jacques André-Boiffard, André Breton, Paul Eluard, Pierre Naville, Giorgio de Chirico, Philippe Soupault, Jacques Baron, and Robert Desnos.
Walter Benjamin writes:
Any serious exploration of occult, surrealistic, phantasmagoric gifts and phenomena presupposes a dialectical intertwinement to which a romantic turn of mind is impervious. For histrionic or fanatical stress on the mysterious side of the mysterious takes us no further; we penetrate the mystery only to the degree that we recognize it in the everyday world, by virtue of a dialectical optic that perceives the everyday as impenetrable, the impenetrable as everyday. The most passionate investigation of telepathic phenomena, for example, will not teach us half as much about reading (which is an eminently telepathic process), as the profane illumination of reading about telepathic phenomena. And the most passionate investigation of the hashish trance will not teach us half as much about thinking (which is eminently narcotic), as the profane illumination of thinking about the hashish trance. The reader, the thinker, the loiterer, the flâneur, are types of illuminati just as much as the opium eater, the dreamer, the ecstatic. And more profane. Not to mention that most terrible drug—ourselves—which we take in solitude.
Josette Lusson by Eli Lotar, 1930
Antonin Artaud and Roger Vitrac, Invented Photographs, 1930
Le théâtre Alfred Jarry et l’hostilité publique, photomontage