50 Times People Accidentally Noticed Surreal Things In Real Life, So They Shared It On This Online Group
Here we are, stuck between dreams and reality. Look around you, Pandas. On the one hand, you’re surrounded by everything that’s familiar, real, recognizable. But as you take a closer peek, you might notice just how odd, how surreal the world can be and it’s not always clear if we’re awake or if our imaginations are playing impish tricks on us.
What we have in store for you today is something special. We’re featuring the ‘Accidental Surrealism’ subreddit, an art and photography-loving online community that shares pics of things that, well, accidentally look like surreal art. Even though the premise is straightforward, the photos are anything but. They will challenge your perception of reality and, hopefully, will inspire you to look at your own surroundings in a different light.
Make sure to keep a strong grip on what’s real as you scroll down, Pandas. Don’t forget to upvote the photos that you enjoyed the most, go visit r/accidentalsurrealism if you enjoyed yourselves, and last but not least: if everything starts melting, keep an eye out for the ghost of Salvador Dalí.
Former art gallery director and art expert Shelby Bercume, from Florida, enlightened Bored Panda about surrealism and Dalí. You'll find out what she had to say if you scroll down, dear Pandas.
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According to former art gallery director Shelby, every art movement focuses on something different. "The reason surrealism is so recognizable is that the subject matter reflects the inner workings of the subconscious," she told Bored Panda. "That’s why the images are considered dream-like because, in actuality, they are dreams and hallucinations."
Although surrealism is instantly recognizable for many, Shelby doesn't believe that we wouldn't be able to mix it up with some other art movements. "There are always overlaps," she said, alluding to the Dada movement which some confuse for surrealism. "But it definitely has a flavor."
The art expert also ruminated about the success of Dalí. "The popularity of Dalí, mostly due to his wife Gala’s business sense, is what makes surrealism so recognizable. It had significant exposure to people that otherwise wouldn’t have known what it is," she mused about part of the reasons why the artist became so widely known.
Shelby added: "Dalí's popularity was also due to his eccentric behavior and incredibly famous friends coupled with the time. Basically, all the ingredients were there for Dalí to take flight, and surrealism was thrust into the spotlight as part of a consequence."
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Surrealism was a movement in visual art and literature that flourished in Europe between the First and Second World Wars. Largely influenced by the Dada movement and anti-art ideas that came before, surrealism was a reaction to the destruction brought about by ‘rationalism’ and the brutality of massive-scale warfare.
Encyclopaedia Britannica notes that poet and critic André Breton, the publisher of The Surrealist Manifesto, saw the movement as “reuniting conscious and unconscious realms of experience so completely that the world of dream and fantasy would be joined to the everyday rational world.” The end result would be “an absolute reality, a surreality.”
Surrealist art, photography, and literature can seem illogical or even unnerving as the creators delve deeper and deeper into the unconscious mind and how it entangles cold, hard reality. Surrealism is meant to surprise, shock the viewer, present them with an alternative way of looking at the world. In a way, you can’t have surrealism without stepping outside the box of your own comfort and realizing that rationalism is limited.
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The ‘Accidental Surrealism’ online group is a niche subreddit, home to just over 19.7k members. Personally, I think that the subreddit deserves to have a lot more attention, considering just how creative the content it shares really is. The group has been active since January of 2016 and we’re hoping that they’ll stick around for at least another 5 years (and more!).
The subreddit has a single moderator busily working behind the curtain of the stage, helping keep everything in check.
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In terms of content, r/accidentalsurrealism is very similar to r/accidentalart and r/AccidentalArtGallery. However, those of you Pandas who know your way around the internet might notice that there’s more than just a passing resemblance to the r/AccidentalRenaissance subreddit that Bored Panda has featured time and again. The idea—stumbling upon something art-related by pure happenstance—is the same; the art movement is different.
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An Accidental Skyline
‘Accidental Surrealism’ has only two rules that members need to follow (well, alongside all the regulations requiring you to be civil that you agreed to the moment you signed up to Reddit). The first rule is fairly straightforward: the surrealism in your photo has to be accidental. It can’t be deliberate! If you stage things to farm karma and get awesome comments, you’re missing the point.
The second rule is slightly murkier, however. Your photos have to “fit the criteria for surrealism,” but the subreddit’s mod notes that “this is subjective.”
Earlier, Bored Panda spoke to art historian and creator of educational videos, Mary McGillivray. According to her, a lot of people have a perception about art and art history that stops them from delving into the topics headfirst.
“A lot of people think that art history is very serious and very important and this leads to them feeling overwhelmed—or even feeling like art history isn't for them. This isn't true!” Mary told me during a previous interview. “I've said it before and I'll say it again, art history is just old memes. Once we start to see the humor and the humanity in art, it becomes far less intimidating.”
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Meanwhile, former gallery director and art expert Shelby told Bored Panda a bit earlier that art history can often be “intimidating and difficult to grasp” for those without a background in it because it’s a subject that far from every school teaches. If schools took a more proactive approach to art history, there might be many more experts in the field and far more online groups like r/accidentalsurrealism.
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"I don’t necessarily think art history is an inaccessible entity, but I know that people tend to feel intimidated by things they aren’t experts in. Since art is often, if not always subjective, it feels even more intimidating than a subject with a 'right answer,' like math for example. I think often that leads to a disconnect between the desire to dive into the subject of art and by relation art history, and the execution of it,” art expert Shelby explained to Bored Panda.
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In Shelby’s opinion, art shouldn’t be exclusionary: it should be accessible to everyone, no matter their background or education. “Art is something to be enjoyed and shouldn’t be reserved for an exclusive group," she said.
"Art is aesthetics and feelings. If you love something, voice why you love it... if you can’t find the words, that’s ok! Talking about art is really discussing how the art affects your emotional state and what thoughts it provokes," former art gallery director Shelby said.
"And remember, it is ok to not love everything, believe it or not, certain artworks are meant to be disturbing or disliked. Just don’t be intimidated to speak up because that’s really all we’re doing when we talk about art. We’re voicing opinions."