Surrealism as A Critique of Modern Science and Technology – Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog) 1928

Posted: April 2, 2018 in Uncategorized

See the complete film below. Read about Descartes’ Optics (1637) by clicking the link behind my photochopped juxtaposition.



  1. Carl Colby says:

    I can’t say I’ve ever made the connection between surrealism and science but it makes sense that this art form, based upon the alteration of perception, would inherently question the validity scientific and societal perceptions as they seem to exist.

    • Carl Colby says:

      *the validity of

      • You got that right. What Surrealism aims to do is make technology, in particular the technology of scientific research, appear strange to us. Further, it wants to show how modern science’s seemingly neutral and objective view of the world is in fact teeming with all sorts us unacknowledged emotions, desires, and drives. As was said of Nemo in our last class, we’ve been swimming in technology all our lives, and so it becomes nearly impossible for us to perceive that we don’t simply use technology but exists in and through it. In most instances, the only way to alert us to this reality is to shock us out of it. That’s precisely why Surrealism cultivated a taste from the outlandish, bizarre, and uncanny. Uncanny is the word we use to describe the feeling which comes over us when we dimly glimpse that our current reality is merely an illusion and we begin to recall a lost but familiar reality which we can scarcely remember.

  2. natquayle says:

    This isn’t 1000% related to the source, but I wrote a sketch for a comedy show on campus that’s pretty surreal and mocks technology:

  3. Collin Andersen says:

    This film struck me that “dream like quality” can be primarily defined by the continuation of a small number of qualities from scene to scene while the remaining elements remain free-floating and unpredictable. Dreams aren’t so much a series of disconnected images unconstrained by reality but rather with each tenuously connected to the previous image and following image.
    Not only do I think I understand my dreams more now, but now I have a vision of a dream art piece and how it would fit together.

    • I’m glad you found this interesting. Surrealist cinema certainly is ‘dreamy’, not to say nightmarish. One of the things that makes it that way is film’s innate tendency to mirror the kind of ‘dream work’ Freud analyses in his landmark The Interpretation of Dreams (1900). The two principle operations performed in dreams, he claims, and ‘condensation’ and ‘displacement’. In film theory, the former might be understood as the creation of (what you have called) floating images – establishing shots and close ups. The latter, on the other hand, might be understand as cuts and jumps from one image to another. While I said I would not formally assign the Laura Mulvey piece, you might want to know that she makes very sophisticated of this line of thought throughout her “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”. This study is a classic example of “structuralist” film theory, as Mulvey identifies two very different but complementary paradigms of fetishistic image. By fetish image, I mean the representations which capture our attention and hold us spell bound. The first is exampled by the work of Alfred Hitchcock; the second she locates in the work of Josef von Sternburg. While the popular film industry will strive to smooth over the difference between these opposing styles, Surrealism will instead do all possible to reveal and exaggerate the difference between them. While you’re under no obligation to read Mulvey’s very difficult essay (which presupposes a ton of prior reading), you’re certainly welcome to look at it.

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