There’s Still Time For Deep Time

Stop press! Update – submission deadline now extended to 31 August!

Time on your hands? Well, don’t look now, but it’s on your side too. The fine people of Peculiar Mormyrid want you for their next issue.

The theme of the issue is Deep Time, and as part of the fun the editors have issued a list of trigger questions that are open to all comers. You don’t need to have been involved in the organised Surrealist movement to join in, or to have any prior experience of Surrealist practice.

Here’s what they say about it:

We invite participants to answer the following Surrealist Questionnaire on Deep Time, open to interested members of the general public alongside already practicing surrealists:

1. Surrealists have often described their most convulsive experiences and experiments in terms of reaching different times or worlds. Do you find this to be true for you? To what extent (or in what sense) are we contemporary with other ages in Earth’s history?

2. Do you know how old the rocks are in your area, upon which you live? How does that affect your life and attitudes?

3. Are fossils surrealist objects? Are there any specific fossils that have made a great impression on you, now or in childhood? Do you have any favourite found objects that you have always interpreted as fossils, whether reasonably or not?

4. What extinct animal would you most like to reappear, and why? (Originally appeared in the first issue of Arsenal, 1970.)

5. Have you ever dreamed about fossils, extinct life forms, or prehistoric landscapes?

6. Describe the primal scene.

7. Walter Benjamin referred to the arcades of Paris as prehistoric caverns containing the bones of “the last dinosaur of Europe.” Is there a specific structure, place, image, or other thing (found where you live, or that you have otherwise seen in person) that you find to be especially reminiscent of a fossil? Think of architectural details, ruins, and urban archaeological miscellanea. You may want to go out and look for one.

8. How important is the concept of humanity to your conception of surrealist activity? How does it relate to other life forms and evolutionary history?

9. What kind of fossils from our current life are we leaving behind, and for whom? How are they going to be interpreted?


For background information about the journal theme, and to find out where to send your submission, visit the Peculiar Mormyrid site.

Image credit: Detail from “The Temple of Time” (1846) by Emma Willard, sourced from Cartography Associates (licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0) via Public Domain Review.

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