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“The lack of politicisation in the recent riots around Britain can be frustrating to those steeped in French theory, those who see the riot as what Martin Luther King described as the “language of the unheard”. But London 2011 is quite evidently not Paris 1968. A new book about the ideas that led to that moment in Paris sheds light on quite how different the two countries’ traditions are…

Wark has done us a great favour by explaining how situationist ideas (which included a proto-internet, an information super-network free of government control) still represent the sharpest and most surprisingly prescient critiques of the contemporary city.” Edwin Heathcote, FINANCIAL TIMES


August 23, 2011, 8.00pm
Cafe OTO
18—22 Ashwin street, Dalston
London E8 3DL UK

McKenzie Wark appears at cafe OTO to talk about his book on the life and times of the Situationist International, The Beach Beneath the Street.
For more information:

August 24, 2011, 7.00pm
5 Caledonian Road , King’s Cross
London N1 9DX

McKenzie Wark’s new book on the subject The Beach Beneath the Street: The Glorious Times of the Situationist International, explores anew the history of the movement and connects the Situationist’s work to new practices in communication, built form, and everyday life.
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August 25, 2011, 7.00pm
Whitechapel Gallery
77-82 Whitechapel High Street
London E1 7QX UK

Writer McKenzie Wark explores the diversity of the Situationist International in his new book The Beach Beneath the Street, re-reading their history in the light of our contemporary experience of communications, architecture, and everyday life.
For more information:
McKenzie Wark’s history of the Situationist International writes against twenty-first century boredom with art and politics, in which both have ‘ceased to be modern, and finding it too passé to be postmodern… is now merely contemporary.’ Creating a new kind of historiography from the group’s legendary oeuvre, Wark re-presents the SI’s history in light of contemporary experiences to shake us out of our boredom and re-kindle the explosive potential of everyday life.

Over 50 years after the Situationist International appeared, its legacy of Marxism mixed with 20th century European artistic avant-garde continues to influence activists, artists and theorists. From the Invisible Committee’s bestselling The Coming Insurrection to Iain Sinclair’s psychogeographic explorations, the work of the Situationists echoes through twenty-first century thought. Yet, despite the rich possibilities, its breadth, diversity, and potential impact are still largely unexplored. Wark’s volume is a radical re-imagining of the Situationist legacy, which reconnects their work to new practices in communication, architecture, and everyday life.

Arguing that ‘Situations are temporary, singular unities of space and time… They call for a different kind of remembering,’ Wark takes readers on a tour of the movement from bohemian after-hours drinks in the cellars of 1950s St. Germain-des-Prés to the mythical beach ‘sous les pavès’ of the explosive days of May ’68.

Blending history and narrative, biography and literature, Wark traces the group’s development as an ensemble creation, rather than the brainchild of its most famous member, Guy Debord. Roaming through Europe and the lives of those who made up the movement – including Constant, Asger Jorn, Michèle Bernstein, Alex Trocchi and Jacqueline De Jong – Wark uncovers an international movement riven with conflicting passions, expanding the gaze beyond the Paris coterie.

Taking up Guy Debord’s famous injunction, “when the legend becomes fact, print the legend,” Wark delves into the SI’s diverse body of work to re-present the legendary Situationists in a way that ignites the possibility of resistance for our time. Wark puts the Situationist experiments into context for twenty-first century struggles, and in doing so, suggests that while the Situationists failed to escape the world of twentieth-century spectacle, there might still be hope for us to escape the twenty-first century, while we still can.

The book jacket is also a fold out poster, Totality for Beginners. A collaborative graphic essay, the beautifully rendered poster employs text selected by McKenzie Wark with composition and drawings by Kevin C. Pyle

“This is a perceptive, provocative study, packed to the seams with acute analysis.” Terry Eagleton, NATION

“Wark’s book challenges the new regime of property relations with all the epigrammatic vitality, conceptual innovation, and revolutionary enthusiasm of the great manifestos.” Michael Hardt, co-author of EMPIRE

“Infuriating and inspiring in turn, A Hacker Manifesto will spawn a thousand theses, and just maybe spawn change.” Mike Holderness, NEW SCIENTIST

“A Hacker Manifesto will yield some provocative ideas and real challenges to a world in which everything is commodified.” Eric J. Iannelli, TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
MCKENZIE WARK is the author of A HACKER MANIFESTO, GAMER THEORY, 50 YEARS OF RECUPERATION OF THE SITUATIONIST INTERNATIONAL and various other books. He teaches at the New School for Social Research and Eugene Lang College in New York City.
ISBN: 978 1 84467 720 7 / $26.95 / £14.99 / $33.50CAN / Hardback / 224 pages
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‘I believe in the afterlife.

It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Human Herbs’ at: (recording) and (live)


‘Maximum levels of boredom

Disguised as maximum fun’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Stagnant’ at: (recording) and (live, at the Belle View pub, Bangor, north Wales)  


Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

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