The Secret City Manifesto
by Ryan Madej
When you've come to a point of inertia, a dead end, or walked a path that has led to failure, the only real option left is some kind of action. Inertia is the opposite of action so one must believe in kinetic force. Kinetic force is moving, active energy, but where and what it will accomplish in the end is not the goal. The goal is to simply get the boulder moving. So what is the motivation? To echo some of the words from a famous manifesto: "The price of existence is eternal warfare." In this case it's a spiritual warfare; warfare against those who oppose experimentation, freedom of expression and the taste of the unknown. This shall be their clarion call and their impetus to move forward without fear.
So what, then, is MY motivation. I've come to a point in my life where the sword and the brush meet. The intersection between artistic intent and pure action. This is the balance and the inevitable evolution, as well as the dream and the nightmare from which I will also wake up from in the End. Until then, in this moment—which is unique like all other moments and equally as valuable—we will see just how far kinetic energy can take us. Our world is at a turning point and humanity itself is turning away. Still, there are many who believe in the value of personal freedom and artistic freedom and we will become the inhabitants of the Secret City.
We have already begun to see the foundations being built for this metropolis. The time for idle chatter and slogans is over; the time for shadows, the clandestine and the hidden is upon us now. The world has been in a state of deconstruction for some time now and due to this the cultural landscape is a pile of bricks, stones and rubble. This isn't a terrible thing by any means; on the contrary, I see it as the inevitable cycle that leads us back to a period of reconstruction, both vertically and laterally. However, as a new foundation is laid, one doesn't know what kind of house will be built upon it. That will be left to the coming generations. What is important in this time, in the here and now, is as said previously: simply action... creative action, unhinged and free.
One thing I want to make clear: this is not a political statement, nor is this a political movement. If what comes of this movement is deemed political, so be it. This is the seed of a tree that I would hope to see grow as time goes on. I can see with a little bit of foresight that nearly anything of value or controversy, strangeness or boldness, eventually becomes a politicized piece of society through the need for people to latch onto something the artist didn't intend. Just ask Bob Dylan, he knows this well.
Remember these names as you put pen to paper, paint to canvas, fingers to the keys of a piano. Names such as Tristan Tzara, Andre Breton, Erik Satie, Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, Sun Ra, Miles Davis, Mark Danielewski, Paracelsus, Anais Nin, Ezra Pound, Banksy, Salvador Dali, Georges Perec, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Roberto Bolano, William S. Burroughs & Brion Gysin in unison etc...
Read. Simply read. There are few experiences more gratifying, perhaps other than sex or death.
Create the mysterious in the midst of everyday experience. People like a good mystery. The obvious is just obvious. The symbolic life, the archetypes, the images we are drawn to, these are the most important of all. The influence of symbol permeates the whole of our society, drawing us into stores, movie theaters and to one another. When we see a stranger with a strange symbol on a t-shirt walking down the street don't we wonder what it means, or what it could mean? We are in a time of social upheaval so what should our symbols be? Certainly not the pyramid, which has been perverted and drained of its power, but something else... Perhaps another shape: the cones, the pentagon, the cube, the sphere. We must fight fire with fire, water with water, earth with earth, air with air. So yes, we are elemental beings drawing from the environment and shining brightly. Cover the walls with messages, words of inspiration and words of warning. This may be our only hope at this point.
With a degree of certainty there is a division between the individual and society and most likely this has always been the case. Is there a remedy? Some sort of narcotic that brings together opposing forces? Is diplomacy the answer? No, the only solution in my eyes is a total breaking away and revamping of individual artistic values. The truly solitary artist. One who is judged solely on artistic merit and not on their politics, religion or sexual orientation. An artist who guides their work through the invisible pipeline like graffiti taggers and muralists who we rarely see. This same level of anonymity needs to be brought to the surface in all areas of artistic expression. An individual who creates, displays, then just as quickly disappears back into the ether to create again.
Another note to pass on is this: We artists must be completely open to what is around us to further our pursuits, whatever those pursuits may be, but let us also embrace the knowledge of the past that has remained obscured such as magic, alchemy, herbalism, astrological phenomenon and bring them back into the light so they can become a part of our work again on a literal and figurative level. Let us come together as well too. Drop the cell phone and pick up the pen. Close the laptop and pick up the sword. Become aware, truly aware and let the creative process begin anew.
About the author
I'm a writer of non-traditional narratives, whether it be experimental non-fiction, short stories, or even music and the occasional little film. Obsessive about reading and all the weirdness the world has to offer.