Painting by Amy Guidry

Keep Cool in Surreal New Orleans Summer

15:00 July 12, 2022
By: Julie Mitchell

Summer is so hot! The Earth has lava at its core and the sun is an exploding star millions of miles away, and despite those things always being true, somehow during a few months of the year these simple facts become personal and hostile truths.

Isn't it strange how we all experience heat pretty much the same, and isn't it strange how the horrors of World War I ushered in a new form of art created from the deep need to explore the absurd and eerie sides of reality? In the mid 1900s after witnessing mass horror, people were like, "Art needs to be more than bridges and fruit," and they created surrealism, a style that taps into the unconscious and celebrates illusion and the irrational. Here we have compiled a list that honors both of these facts: a summertime guide for how to beat the heat, while not forgetting the surrealist painters of the 1900s.

[Lanju fotografie / unsplash]

Eat a Popsicle

Everyone loves a cold, sweet popsicle. Whether you're riding a bicycle to meet a friend or painting a self-portrait as a bleeding deer, popsicles are refreshing. And remember, there's no wrong way to eat a popsicle. Bite on it fast, or savor it slowly. Shove it down your shirt if you don't mind getting a little sticky. Trees have sex with each other. What if we are all trees wearing clothes?

Go For a Swim

There is nothing like stripping down to a bathing suit and jumping headfirst into a body of cool water. A lake, a pool, the ocean-it all feels good. You know what else feels good? Merging biomorphic shapes into a collective unconscious. Who needs temperature regulation when you have art and drugs? And for that matter, fetishes, religion, or dreams? Ha, just kidding, they're all the same. So jump in; the water's fine!

Read in a Cold Bath

Books are a window into another dimension. They can transport you anywhere—the past, or India. Take some time this week to run a cold refreshing bath, light a small candle, and soak away with a good book. You might be surprised by what you learn. For example, are hallucinations just repressed memories through the filter of our own experience? What if God is just an apple, and we're all seeds—especially our ideas? The bath is a nice place to explore these thoughts.

[Adobe Stock]

Open Window

Sometimes we don't all have the luxury of pools or popsicles or open fields, but summertime relief is not out of our grasp. Even just an open window can give a cool breeze and a beautiful view, enough to escape the heat even just for a moment. Find an open window and bring a little chair and a glass of lemonade to the windowsill and watch the world down below. How tiny the people look. Notice all the triangles? Doesn't everything kind of just look like triangles? When you think about it, isn't your relationship with your mother a triangle? You and her each a point and the world the third? Can't everything be reduced to shapes on a gray plane? Isn't that simply the furniture of time?

Water Balloon Fight

What is more exhilarating than grabbing a couple of gal pals or some children, dividing up a cooler of balloons and running and splashing around until everyone is wet and your colorful arsenal is gone? It is of course nothing like real war; the balloons know nothing of grief and the sadness of loss with no name because the thing that was lost was an idea of what things could be. The balloons will be fun though.

Go to the Movies

What fun. Popcorn and soda in an air-conditioned building with a soft chair for you to sink into. Images scrolling in front of you that have their own purpose and agenda. A million little lines converging on a single point that is your own consciousness, bringing emotions out of you like water from a well. And sometimes there are dinosaurs.

Swing High

Speeding through the air, high off the ground but close enough to feel safe, surrounded by sky, and sun, and trees. Swinging is such a beautiful and fun pastime and connects us to our childhood. Speaking of childhood and losing ourselves in experience, how often is the representation of something more important that the reality of it? Can you ever truly experience a perception? When a clock melts, how much time would be in the drips?

[Vika Strawberrika / unsplash]

Drink Water

The last one is the easiest one, but often the most overlooked. Drink more water. When you sweat, you're losing so much of your body's precious moisture, it's important to replenish. Not only does it feel and taste good, but this is the only item on this list important to your health. Drinking water is easy to remember, unlike, say, how anything can be a bird, or how sometimes a set of jaws can come out of your hip. Compared to the amusing yet menacing aura of the passage of time for example, remembering to drink water is easy. Drink up.

Well, I hope this list helps you have a fun, cool, summer that hides nothing but still elicits mystery and keeps you from getting too hot.

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