Robotized Human Being’s Swarming/Itching Desire To Return To Human Condition?

Fame is a bee.
It has a song
It has a sting
Ah, too, it has a wing.

Emily Dickinson


Meret Oppenheim, “Bicycle Seat Covered With Bees” (1952)

Do we see a bicycle or a man? Maybe, we see a bicycle seat or a protruded head of bicyclist who is concentrated on the road ahead)? But, may be, we see a human head, or an exotic toad as a bicyclist? Or, are we seeing a human head in a form of bicycle seat (you know, strange mutations like this happen more and more often) or a man’s crotch? Isn’t it fun to see a crotch riding a bike? In this sense, Oppenheim is thinking here futuristically, and, may be, even prophetically. Finally, these swarming bees occupying bicycle seat can be the artist’s humorous characterization of men’s involuntary sexual excitement, this well-known pressuring irritation insistently calling for action? Yes, if the bike is the male individual and the bike seat – his sexual potential, swarming bees, indeed, can represent the life of this tireless organ, its very sensitivity and its aspiration to live in full.

All mentioned and unmentioned interpretational possibilities characterize Meret Oppenheim as a “certified” surrealist – she doesn’t have too much respect for technological tools because modern society has transformed them into fetishes and people into worshippers of technology. Indeed, how could people allow tools to become our masters? Of course, this existential “heresy” started long ago, and our today’s life consists of permanent wars, cutthroat competition and dreams of possessions, consumption and status of bill-mills (billionaires/millionaires). We are not peaceful enough because we are not contemplative, we are like action movies.

Probably, much more important than our ideological panegyrics to technical (manipulative) thinking is nurturing development of human – holistic mind. In the beginning of the 21st century we observe an unprecedented attacks on humanistic sciences and their growing financial abandonment. Psychoanalysis today is losing the ability to talk, sociology and psychology are reduced into didactic slogans and art – into embellishing designs, a kind of abstract nests for human birds.

Twentieth century was able to give birth to two humanistically-scientific intellectual revolutions – psychoanalytic and surrealistic. Today, we praise Meret Oppenheim as a critical thinker of a dehumanized and impersonalized tendencies in Western civilization. Robotized crotch riding a bicycle or the swarming sensation of human sexual drive will be with us as images reflecting the truth of our condition until we’ll not change the very paradigm of our civilization and awaken ourselves to life.


Meret Oppenheim as a young woman


Meret Oppenheim (1913 – 1985)