Sunday, May 13, 2007

"I try to create fantastic things, magical things, things like in a dream. The world needs more fantasy. Our civilization is too mechanical. We can make the fantastic real, and then it is more real than that which actually exists." Salvador Dalí

Surreal Things

In a dream you experience something that is not real, that is not happening and that has not happened. But why are you having that dream but not any other dream? Your dream must be connected to your waking life somehow. Each object in a dream takes on a meaning that is different than its real function. (Sometimes its meaning is related to its function, if not, why would that specific object be assigned that meaning?) The object becomes a symbol of your real experiences and feelings. Objects are like words, they make up a language that can tell you something real about you, more real than what you're aware of. Dream interpretation is really translation from that language.

As far as I understand, the clever, original idea that inspired surrealism was to give objects new meanings, just like in a dream. Objects stand in unusual, unreal settings and sequences. Each becomes a symbol of something other than itself, and the whole composition may be telling a story. (Maybe not, because some pieces didn't lend themselves to easy interpretation. Did they mean anything? I don't know.) In literature, too, things often exist and happen for a reason, there is a reason why they happen that is beyond their literal meaning.

Isn't the concept of "design" borne out of the effort to give objects a bigger meaning than their bare functions? We want our watch, our blouse, our jewellery, our car to tell something about us, to become symbols of us. We want them to tell a story - a story that is... us. We want to have something coherent, something unique and meaningful about us.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good design is good function, I recall the designers say. But of course it has gone past material function in many examples in the way you suggest. Though I, for one, keep struggle against making my identity dependant on things, by constantly question what a thing really means in terms of function and if it could be replaced by another brand. But looking at new generations choices, it seems getting harder and harder to be rational in that sense.