Cecil Touchon's poetry in his most recent book, Happy Shopping, is delicious, in the oddest, well, "massurrealist," way. Touchon, a poet-artist, based in Dallas-Texas, extracts material from the very fabric of the massurreality : texts from spam email.
In these poems Touchon offers us a contemplative glimpse into contemporary artistic practice where the artist becomes much more a connector of things than a creator. "Every day trillions of bits of data are transmitted over the Internet," he explains. "As artists peer into this world of information overload a vast body of incoherent data is brought into view. Much like the subconscious explored by the early Surrealists."
Touchon uses this raw material to explore unlikely configurations through the use of found text, the abutment of random, unrelated words and phrases such as the classic example from Lautréamonts Chants de Maldoror: "the unexpected meeting, on a dissection table, of a sewing machine and an umbrella". This embrace of randomness is central to Touchon’s poetic output. And this will make one of the most unusual gifts in 2008 for anyone who owns a credit card, has shopped in LA, has visted the Red Light District in Amsterdam, is named Lindsay Lohan and has an e-mail account.
Touchon offers no easy answer to the issues raised by this deluge of raw data but rather seems to revel in it suggesting that even the most inane material holds the possibility of artistic expression. Order Happy Shopping NOW!
“WHAT IS THIS MASSUREALITY?”
"We all live in a great Massurreality. It is the world that we, as humans have self created through our use of media. When we watch TV, listen to the radio, read a book or news paper, go to a church, a school or an art museum, when we dabble on the internet or read any sign along the highway as we sit in our vehicles we are absorbing our minds in a humo-centric reality that stand apart from the natural world. In this mental construct we have an identity. It is a borrowed identity, an identity given to us by way of name, by way of race, by way of socio-economic standing, by way of our education, our religion, our occupation, our buying habits. Each of us proudly occupies a place in a variety of demographic parameters. This is our massurrealist identity, our place in the great Massurreality."
Happy Shopping - Massurrealist Spam Poetry by Cecil Touchon; ISBN: 978-0-6151-8244-5 Publisher: Ontological Museum Publications; Rights Owner: Cecil Touchon; Copyright: © 2007 Ontological Museum Publications Standard Copyright License; Language: English; Country: United States; Edition: First Edition