A quick look at Manifestoes:

Words by Reece Merrifield

A Manifesto is never perfect. Indeed, everybody that has an opinion and a plan can create a manifesto, which can and will create schisms of thought and obvious differences in the multitude of manifestoes.

A manifesto, as Rem Koolhas says, is a ‘blueprint’, but one that ‘does not predict the cracks that will develop in the future’. The manifesto is not a machine, it is a living organism. Organisms live and die, and so too do manifestoes.

The manifesto will never project perfection. The manifesto will, on the other hand, point out other viewpoints. A manifesto can be a set of rules, or it can direct a person to break established dogma.

‘A’ manifesto should never claim to be ‘The’ Manifesto.

A manifesto is an art form, it can influence people beyond belief, be it politically/artistically/spiritually. A manifesto could question you, it could reflect your life, or you may reject it outright, but at least it is there.

Manifestoes are under-appreciated for their ability to influence and motivate large groups of individuals. A manifesto cannot be alone. To read a manifesto is to join a group, to decide whether your subscription to that group is temporary or permanent, to show them other manifestoes, to build on that already existing manifesto.

Manifestoes have no end, have not ended and will never end. This article is a manifesto.

YouthStrike4Climate

Words by Joshua Cialis

Today I caught up with school children, in Canterbury, who didn’t go in to school to protest against Climate Change. I joined the march by chance while walking down the high street. Their chanting and drums – a fresh sight in the winter sun of Canterbury.
I spoke to several students who were risking detentions to stand-up for their own futures, and all Power and Solidarity to them. The peaceful, but vocal march moved through the town with passers joining – off the street and out of shops – throughout.

The strike was part of a national movement of students to protest against Climate Change and the lack of action from the Government on Climate Change. It was a varied meeting of families, school children, socialists, Green activists, environmental studies students, politics students and normal people. The youngest person I spoke to was five and the oldest was 65; the majority were between 13 and 18.
These are children who, in the Prime Minister’s eyes, are ‘wasting lesson time’, but in my eyes they are heroes, radicals, and the future.

Foxtrot Uniform stands in Solidarity with you in sending a message to the Governments of the World, telling them to do something to stop Climate Change.

Light Reading

Words by Joshua Cialis, picture by J. M. W. Turner (‘Sunset over Water’)

‘Yellow after the night goes to sleep’ (O’Hara, 1955)

Poets have used light since the beginning of creative thought, to illuminate the cave walls on which they depicted stories, to shine onto writing desks, to demonstrate some sublime metaphor, to light their journey through a dark patch in life, or more recently to spotlight themselves on a stage. However we look at it, light is immensely important to poets.

For Coleridge, light was a portal to the sublime; a sunset allows the ‘veil [to the] Almighty Spirit’ to be lifted. In fact in ‘This Lime Tree Bower My Prison’, Coleridge almost explicitly defines the sublime as only coming through in light; the light ‘hues’ of the sunset allow the poet to be struck by a ‘swimming sense…less gross than bodily’. In light we experience the deepest of beautiful feelings. However, there is also a sense of what might be going on in the dark. In ‘Kaddish’, Ginsberg muses on darkness and death in the lines: ‘like a poem in the dark – escaped back to Oblivion/ No more to say, and nothing to weep for but the Beings in the Dream’. Here, essentially Ginsberg asserts darkness with death and destruction of pure imagination. Therefore, light is essential for creativity and beauty.

It is interesting to look at light and how it is depicted in poetry. A favourite image of mine is morning light through a slatted blind. It is that purest kind of light, the sort you only notice for a couple of minutes before it is gone into the business of the day. But that blurry eyed beauty can be locked up in the lines of a poem to transport us back to that serenity of waking up to light. O’Hara captures this morning light brilliantly in his poem ‘Talking To The Sun On Fire Island’, a poem in which the Sun patiently waits for O’Hara to wake before asserting the equality of the Sun’s light and how it shines everywhere, and must therefore be a power for all writers and creatives.

Burroughs’ used artificial light to create hallucinations. Using Briony Gysin’s ‘Dream Machine’, a sequence of flashing lights shine through a spinning cylinder creating a strobosofic effect. This flickering light stimulates the optic nerves to create images behind the eyes of the watcher. This hallucinatory effect of oscillating light had such an effect on Burroughs that he uses the images seen in his Dream Machine experiments in almost all of his books. The fact that light can have this ability to expel writers block demonstrates its power in the poet’s tool box.

One way to harness this power of light in a simple writing exercise is to note the shapes that light form in a specific place throughout the day. Notice how these shapes change as the sun sets and then how they morphe further after the sun goes down and the light becomes artificial. Muse upon how these changes affect you and your outlook on the environment around you and what happens once the light has gone.

Reece’s Pieces: My Relationship with Surrealism

Words by Reece David Merrifield; acknowledgments to David Morris’ ‘The Lives of the Surrealists’

When I had to come up with a research topic in my second year, it was only ever going to be related to surréalisme. I embarked on an ‘art translation’ project inspired by Brauner, Tanguy, Miró, Magritte etc etc etc., and the week itself, all alone on the hottest week in July, only added a surreal edge to proceedings. This piece however, is not a reflection on that time, but why I reserve such interest in Surrealism.

            For me, it is the adult’s excuse not only to escape reality, but also to question it too. Why must a watch never droop? Why can’t a businessman have an apple for a face? These are probably the most famous examples, but the point still stands. We need these points, not a forward-straight path of reality, to enjoy ourselves. Surrealism embodies a resistance to established norms in flamboyant fashion. It isn’t (or at least I don’t think it should be) violent or dismissive, but playful and emotive. Max Ernst put it succinctly when he said ‘I believe the best thing to do is to have one eye closed and to look inside, and this is the inner eye. With the other eye, you have it fixed on reality, what is going on around the world’. You must observe your surroundings, but not let it fully dictate your relationship with it too. Surrealism to me is ironically a constant act of balance, a businessman on a tightrope.

            I enjoy incorporating surrealistic elements into my own work (and usually persist even if others don’t understand). I also enjoy work that, although not directly related to the movement, contains surrealistic tendencies, like Magic Realism or (up for debate) science fiction. It is away from what I already know or am expected to know and is subsequently all the more interesting because of it.

            In preparation of this article I have been reading Desmond Morris’ ‘The Lives of the Surrealists’. I am in equal measures astonished and fascinated finding out about the characters beyond their paintings and writings. Dalí is a well-documented case: not only did he fantasise about Hitler, he also supported Franco’s reign in Spain, only to flip-flop between these beliefs when the Second World War was beginning and, after Franco’s death, ‘transferred his allegiance to the Spanish royal family’. He also carried the largest ego within the movement, and after a while a person like that can become, in my mind, over-indulgent and sickly. It was also a shock to find that Breton, the proclaimed founder of the movement, was misogynistic and homophobic, and was often seen by the inner circle of Surrealists as dictatorial (and to their credit a lot of them brought up this point, only to be expelled or angrily dismissed). It is difficult to accept that these people held such beliefs or actions, but they must be put aside as individual characteristics, and allow Surrealism as an ideal to prevail. I relate much more to Miró, a ‘figure […] of small stature and immaculately dressed in an a quietly elegant suit’. He seemed, as Morris supposed, someone who put so much into their work that that was enough creativity without further causing or spilling havoc around him. If there were to be a neo-surrealistic movement, it would need its celebrities, but also many more Mirós.

            I think that I will always hold Surrealism in high regard and defend it to the hilt. I enjoy the inhibition it allows, the games you can play, the vividness it creates. On my travels, coming upon art galleries, I always hope to find art that is surreal, regardless of its owner’s artistic motivation or association. Long may that continue.