Digital access to this material is pending artist's approval. Materials may be viewed onsite at the Goldsen Archive, Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Kroch Library, Cornell University.
I have always been both impressed and influenced by Breton's statement that "Beauty will be convulsive or not at all." Such a phrase seems to state eloquently the criterion for profound life experience, not just of beauty, but of a wide variety of physiologically and psychologically intense perceptions and behaviors. When there is a mental or physical convulsion, the layers of mediation that mold the social into a mass hallucination are peeled back, and there is a moment of clarity born of direct experience. Unfortunately, even the most constructive of activities that conjure such moments are illegal, or at the ery least, socially unacceptable. Part of Breton's worry was that (Western) art had been purged of its unacceptable convulsive qualities. Indeed, art in the West seems to ha e become an art of reflection. The goal is not to experience work, but to stand back from it and reflect on what its message might be. Given this formula, the peak of pleasure is obtained through alienated analysis. This notion certainly reflects the soaring levels of separation that mark the decline of the social in general. There is nothing convulsive to be found in spectacularized (mediated) experience, in art or in anything else.
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