Surrealism takes the logic and continuity of the dream to have a truly given significance, equalled only by the revelatory power of the unexpected analogy, the marvellous conjunction.
— Mel Gooding, Introduction to Surrealist Games
What does the flying bird see?
What is invisible can be trusted.
Question Michelle Tennison, Answer Beverly Borton (2016)
. . . the surrealists are not politicians nor scientists, philosophers nor even physicians. They are poets, specialists in language, and it is language they will attack first.
First of all, no more logic. In language especially it must be hunted down, beaten to a pulp, reduced to nothing. There are no more verbs, subjects, complements. There are words that can even mean something other than what they actually say.
— Maurice Nadeau, The History of Surrealism
Which dead end will be reincarnated?
The river above the sound of the river
Question John Levy, Answer Michelle Tennison (2017)
All the Things You Said, digital art collage by Josephine R. Unglaub
Is it possible that words themselves have a kind of life force or inherent energetic signature that has been forgotten? According to Maurice Nadeau in The History of Surrealism, Andre Breton attached extreme importance to word games because “they showed that words had their own lives, that they were creators of energy, and that they could henceforth command thought.” (Breton’s words in italics).
What is conversation?
Elephants outfitted for battle
Question Michelle Tennison, Answer Mark Harris (2016)
Perhaps there is more meaning inherent in everyday things than we realize.
When we play The Question and Answer game in definition form, with questions such as What is faith?, it feels like an experiment in living words, one where we might begin to reclaim language after years of devitalization through manipulative and/or mercenary agendas. (Beware the Vision checking account or Freedom mortgage). Many of us are longing to experience an authenticity in communication that we feel has been lost. One way to do this is to concretize and reconnect abstractions to their original source: The living Earth.
What is faith?
A cicada shell still hanging on the tree
Q&A Session with Chris Hudson, Mary Ellen Binkele, and Michelle Tennison (approx. 2003)
Is it true?
There’s a robin’s
Question Michelle Tennison, Answer Sabine Miller (2015)
Blackberry Blossoms, digital photograph by Michelle Tennison, 2017
Is there … anything more charming, more fruitful and of a more positively stimulating nature than the commonplace?
— Charles Baudelaire, Salon de 1859
What is prayer?
I see a purple flower underneath some vines on the long, long walk to you.
Q&A Session Mary Ellen Binkele and Michelle Tennison, (1999)