This month the Liverpool Tate begins a major exhibition of the work of Salvador Dali, the artist who did more than any other to popularise Surrealism, but who also debased it through his long, overproductive dotage. The Tate show focuses on his best period, the Thirties. If you want to capture some of the spirit of inquiring irrationality which informed the original movement - all that Cabaret Voltaire tapping-into-the-subconscious business - then visit the Surrealism Server. Here, as the opening page puts it, you can "judge the basis of Surrealism not by what has been and yet remains to be written about the movement, but by what has been done and yet remains to be accomplished using the mecanismes inherent in the Vice of Surrealism".

Some of the mecanismes in question will be familiar to students of the movement: how to play Exquisite Corpse, for example, which isn't as alarming as it sounds. Basically all you need is a large piece of paper, a group of friends and a functioning level of inebriation. The Surrealist Server really excells, however, when it takes advantage of the interactivity of the Internet. Enter the Surrealist Compliment Generator and get a different, randomly produced compliment every time: "My elbow sockets sharpen pencils when you pass by on divine fumes of industrial combustion," was, I think, the sweetest thing anyone had said to me for some time. Have a surreal, interactive conversation with Esme in the Cadaveric Enigma Engine Generator - "the more she talks, the more she has to say". Or make your contribution to the Infinite Story and see what happens. It's not really possible to update you on the story so far and you either like this sort of thing or hate it. Here's a snippet from Chapter One: "He turned to his wife and gazed sadly into her eyes. It had been 16 days since she last spoke to him. She remained silent. Speaking only with her eyes, and even then she said nothing. She was a salamander with a blueberry in her mouth. She thought, `Underneath. With.'" Etc, etc, ad infinitum


The Surrealism Server

http://www.tate.org.uk/ for details of the Tate's Dali exhibition, 24 October-31 January 1999