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Tag Archives: Society of the Spectacle

Guy Debord

Guy Debord

THE SOCIETY OF THE SPECTACLE

THE SOCIETY OF THE SPECTACLE by Guy Debord

Newly translated and annotated by Ken Knabb
150 pages. $15.00

Guy Debord was the most influential figure in the Situationist International, the notorious group that helped trigger the May 1968 revolt in France. His book “The Society of the Spectacle,” originally published in Paris in 1967, has been translated into more than twenty other languages and is arguably the most important radical book of the twentieth century. This is the first edition in any language to include extensive annotations, clarifying the historical allusions and revealing the sources of Debord’s
“détournements.”

Contrary to popular misconceptions, Debord’s book is neither an ivory tower “philosophical” discourse nor a mere expression of “protest.” It is a carefully considered effort to clarify the most fundamental tendencies and contradictions of the society in which we find ourselves. This makes it more of a challenge, but it is also why it remains so pertinent nearly half a century after its original publication while countless other social theories and intellectual fads have come and gone.

It has, in fact, become even more pertinent than ever, because the spectacle has become more all-pervading than ever — to the point that it is almost universally taken for granted. Most people today have scarcely any awareness of pre-spectacle history, let alone of anti-spectacle possibilities. As Debord noted in his follow-up work, “Comments on the Society of the Spectacle” (1988), “spectacular domination has succeeded in raising an entire generation molded to its laws.”

The book is now at the printer’s. It will be available March 20. For further information, see http://www.bopsecrets.org/cat.htm

Bonuses for Some

Bonuses for Some

 

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‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

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Situationist Human

SITUATIONIST AESTHETICS: THE S.I. NOW

University of Sussex, Brighton, UK – Friday 8th June 2012

Keynote: McKenzie Wark (The New School, NY), author of The Beach Beneath the Street: The Everyday Life and Glorious Times of the Situationist International (2011), Gamer Theory (2007) and Hacker Manifesto (2004).

“Since the beginning of the movement there has been a problem as to what to call artistic works by members of the SI. It was understood that none of them was a situationist production, but what to call them? I propose a very simple rule: to call them ‘antisituationist.’ We are against the dominant conditions of artistic inauthenticity. I don’t mean that anyone should stop painting, writing, etc. I don’t mean that that has no value. I don’t mean that we could continue to exist without doing that. But at the same time we know that such works will be coopted by society and used against us. Our impact lies in the elaboration of certain truths which have an explosive power whenever people are ready to struggle for them. At the present stage the movement is only in its infancy regarding the elaboration of these essential points.” — Attila Kotányi at the Fifth Conference of the SI, 1961

Is it oxymoronic, heretical or just plain wrong to talk about Situationist aesthetics? The Situationist International (SI) condemned attempts to discuss its work in terms of aesthetics, but perhaps it is now time to brush the SI against the grain.

When it first announced its programme, the SI insisted that ‘There is no such thing as Situationism’. A few years later, before expelling its members deemed to be too invested in artistic production, the SI declared that in an age of spectacle any work of art produced by a Situationist must necessarily be ‘antisituationist’. The SI’s tactical intransigence regarding the political value of the aesthetic, and its refusal of the possibility of a specifically Situationist aesthetic, threw up problems that remained unresolved by the time of the SI’s dissolution. Since 1972, particularly in Anglophone contexts, Situationist practices have penetrated an array of cultural spheres, and much cultural production which the SI would have dismissed as spectacular has claimed some Situationist influence.

The SI located itself within but against culture. This symposium asks whether such a position is tenable, and what possibility might there be for Situationist aesthetics after all. Do cultural phenomena such as punk, or the current psychogeography industry, for example, work as or against Situationist aesthetics? Is it possible to identify art works and/or practices indebted to the SI that do not recuperate its politics but fortify and develop them?

Possible themes include, but are not limited to:

·           The work of Guy Debord and other members of the Situationist International

·           The work of artists, writers, thinkers or film-makers proximate to or influenced by the SI

·           Critiques of the SI

·           (Post-)Situationist theory now

·           Détournement, plagiarism, and recuperation

·           Spectacular and anti-spectacular aesthetics

·           The uses and abuses of psychogeography

·           Punk and art writing

Please submit proposals of no more than 250 words for papers or presentations of 20 minutes to Sam Cooper at situ.aesthetics@gmail.com by 16th March 2012.

For further information: http://situationist-aesthetics.blogspot.com

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‘Maximum levels of boredom

Disguised as maximum fun’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Stagnant’ at: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic (recording) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLjxeHvvhJQ (live, at the Belle View pub,Bangor, northWales)  

 

‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

‘Stagnant’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkP_Mi5ideo  

 

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Asger Jorn

ASGER JORN’S WRITINGS ON ART AND ARCHITECTURE

Guy Debord and Asger Jorn were the key co-founders of the Situationist International (1957). Despite significant differences in style and personality, the two were close collaborators at that time and remained close personal friends until Jorn’s death in 1973, long after Jorn had left the SI.

One of the first projects of the newly formed SI was the publication of a large French-language collection of Asger Jorn’s texts from the immediately preceding period: “Pour la Forme: ébauche d’une méthodologie des arts” (1958). This collection was reprinted by Éditions Allia and is still in print, but up till now very few of Jorn’s writings have been available in English.

Now, at long last, there is a comprehensive English-language collection of Jorn’s writings:

FRATERNITÉ AVANT TOUT:
ASGER JORN’S WRITINGS ON ART AND ARCHITECTURE, 1938-1958
Edited by Ruth Baumeister
Translated by Paul Larkin and Ken Knabb
Published by “010” (Rotterdam)
http://www.010.nl/catalogue/book.php?id=760

Most of this new collection consists of articles translated from the Danish and Swedish by Paul Larkin, but it also includes four articles from “Pour la Forme” translated from the French by Ken Knabb. Excerpts from these latter articles are online at: http://www.bopsecrets.org/SI/asger-jorn/index.htm

Those excerpts provide just a little taste of the richness and liveliness of Jorn’s ideas and explorations. I encourage you to get Baumeister’s book if you are interested in further exploring this provocative yet genial pioneer of the interface between cultural and political radicalism.

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The Bureau of Public Secrets website features writings by Ken Knabb, Knabb’s translations from the Situationist International, and the Rexroth Archive (texts by and about the great writer and social critic Kenneth Rexroth).

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BUREAU OF PUBLIC SECRETS
POB 1044, Berkeley CA 94701, USA
http://www.bopsecrets.org

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The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

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Situationism

THE SITUATIONISTS AND THE CITY

NEW TITLE:  The Situationists and the City

Edited and Translated by TOM MCDONOUGH

Published 15th February 2010

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“An extraordinary banquet for the subversive imagination served by the master chefs of Situationism.” – Mike Davis

“A brilliant array of reports, manifestoes, stories, and scenarios concerning architecture and urbanism, this expertly edited volume might serve as a guide in our contemporary confrontation with an urban environment once again rolled by capital.” – Hal Foster

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The Situationist International were one of the most important radical groups to have emerged in the rush of twentieth century avant-garde projects after the first world war. Led by the Hegelian philosopher, anarcho-Leninist revolutionary, avant-garde film maker, romantic, alcoholic, theorist of the ‘society of the spectacle’ and original psychogeographer Guy Debord they caused havoc in art galleries, cinemas and, most importantly, on the streets of Paris in May 1968.

The work of the Situationist International on the city has reverberated through contemporary culture. The Situationists invented the concept of psychogeography, the idea that we are drawn to or repelled from particular areas by a unique combination of emotional and historical ambiences – they saw the city as alive and the tumult of its history bleeding through its architecture and through the very planning of the streets. They also saw the city as a place of revolution and imagined that society could be changed if the urban framework was transformed.

Most of their pieces were first published in their journal INTERNATIONALE SITUATIONISTE (the style of which is replicated by the book cover). Now, for the first time, the key work of the Situationists on the city, and of key early allies such as theorist Henri Lefebvre and architect Constant, has been collected into one illustrated volume.

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Tom McDonough is Associate Professor of Modern Architecture and Urbanism in the Art History Department at Binghamton University. He is the editor of GUY DEBORD AND THE SITUATIONIST INTERNATIONAL and the author of THE BEAUTIFUL LANGUAGE OF MY CENTURY.

He is also an editor of GREY ROOM, a journal which brings together scholarly and theoretical articles from the fields of architecture, art, media, and politics to forge a cross-disciplinary discourse uniquely relevant to contemporary concerns.

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ISBN: 978 1 84467 364 3  $26.95 / £14.99 / $29.95 / Paperback / 244 pages

ISBN: 978 1 84467 332 2 $110.00 / £65.00 / $121.00 / Hardback / 244 pages

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For more information visit:
http://www.versobooks.com/books/klm/m-titles/mcdonough_tom_situationists_and_the_city.shtml

To buy the book in the UK:
http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/9781844673643/The-Situationists-and-the-City

or

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Situationists-City-Reader-Black-White/dp/1844673642/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1265806432&sr=8-1

To buy the book in the US:
http://www.amazon.com/Situationists-City-Reader-Black-White/dp/1844673642/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1265806439&sr=8-1

UPDATE 19th June 2010:

Tom McDonough and Owen Hatherley discussing Situationists in the City at the ICA on Wednesday 16th June:

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Jacques Ranciere

THE EMANCIPATED SPECTATOR – JACQUES RANCIERE

NEW TITLE: THE EMANCIPATED SPECTATOR

JACQUES RANCIÈRE

Published 25 January 2010

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“Ranciere’s writings offer one of the few conceptualizations of how we are to continue to resist.”  Slavoj Zizek

“Ranciere is an heir to Foucault.”  Alain Badiou

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AUTHOR EVENTS IN LONDON:

3rd February 2010: ICA / Jacques Ranciere in conversation with Kodwo Eshun, Otolith Group / For more details and to book click here:: http://www.ica.org.uk/The%20Image%20in%20Question+23536.twl

4th February 2010: Whitechapel Gallery / Big Ideas: Jacques Ranciere in conversation with Adrian Rifkin and Andrea Phillips / For more details and to book click here: http://www.whitechapelgallery.org/shop/product/category_id/22/product_id/437?session_id=126278107878a96fc6fd05d128adaed940ce9e71eb1

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“Every spectator is already an actor in her story; every actor, every man of action, is the spectator of the same story.”

A ‘68er whose radical ardour remains undimmed, Jacques Ranciere is one of the most influential and compelling thinkers of our age in France since Foucault and Deleuze, lauded by both art theorists and artists.

Now this leading theorist of the art world returns with the follow-up to his acclaimed manifesto for contemporary art and film, THE FUTURE OF THE IMAGE which located art firmly in relation to politics.

Theorists of art and film commonly depict the modern audience as passive consumers. In response, both artists and thinkers have sought to transform the viewer of art or the spectator into someone involved in the drama before them – seeking to ‘emancipate’ the spectator and make them politically active.

For example, the influential curator of the Tate Britain’s recent exhibition ‘Altermodern’, Nicholas Bourriaud, has championed the notion of a more socially engaged art, where the public are encouraged to participate in an event or artwork. We have seen the influence of such ideas in such projects as Antony Gormley’s ‘One & Other’ that took place on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square.

Ranciere turns these ideas over and argues that “Being a spectator is not some passive condition that we should transform into activity. It is our normal situation.” For Ranciere, there is no privileged starting point in art but we should reassess the relations between seeing, doing, speaking: emancipation means blurring these boundaries.

Looking over the tradition of critical art and what the desire to insert art into life has achieved, Ranciere asks, ‘has the militant critique of the consumption of images and commodities has become, ironically, a sad confirmation of its omnipotence?’

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Praise for Jacques Ranciere

“His art lies in the rigor of his argument – its careful, precise unfolding – and at the same time not treating his reader, whether university professor or unemployed actress, as an imbecile.” Kristin Ross

“It’s clear that Jacques Ranciere is relighting the flame that was extinguished for many—that is why he serves as such a signal reference today.” Thomas Hirschhorn

“In the face of impossible attempts to proceed with progressive ideas within the terms of postmodernist discourse, Ranciere shows a way out of the malaise.” Liam Gillick

Praise for HATRED OF DEMOCRACY

“A piercing essay on the definitions and redefinitions of the term “democracy” … the present catastrophe in Iraq provides more than ample proof of Ranciere’s bold assertion that we need to rethink the relationship between democracy and power before setting in motion any more wars in the name of “freedom”.” Times Higher Educational Supplement

“This tastily sardonic essay is partly a scholarly sprint through the history of political philosophy, and partly a very enjoyable stream of insults directed at rival penseurs.” The Guardian

“Ranciere critiques the political stance in the west that pours scorn on mass protests and popular culture at home, yet promotes the spread of democracy by force throughout the world. … But Ranciere eschews polemic in order to show the confusion in our political discourse. He challenges what he sees as the widely held view that democratic life is synonymous with “the apolitical life of the indifferent consumer”.” New Statesman

Praise for THE FUTURE OF THE IMAGE

“A series of gratifyingly knotty and close discussions of 19th- and 20th-century literature, film and painting” The Guardian

“French philosopher Jacques Ranciere is a refreshing read for anyone concerned with what art has to do with politics and society.” J.J. Charlesworth, Art Review

“What we see here is Ranciere developing a unique voice as a political theorist.” Bookforum

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Jacques Ranciere is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Paris-VIII.  His books include THE FUTURE OF THE IMAGE, HATRED OF DEMOCRACY, and ON THE SHORES OF POLITICS (all from Verso), THE POLITICS OF AESTHETICS, DISAGREEMENT, THE PHILOSOPHER AND HIS POOR, THE IGNORANT SCHOOLMASTER,SHORT VOYWAGES TO THE LAND OF THE PEOPLE and NIGHTS OF LABOR.

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The Emancipated Spectator Author: Jacques Ranciere / 25 January 2010 / 
Hardback /
978 1 84467 343 8 /£12.99 / $23.95/144 pages / Hardback

For more information visit http://www.versobooks.com/books/nopqrs/r-titles/ranciere_j_emancipated_spectator.shtml

To buy the book in the U.K:
http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/9781844673438/The-Emancipated-Spectator
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Emancipated-Spectator-Jacques-Ranci%C3%A8re/dp/184467343X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1264006364&sr=8-1

To buy the book in the U.S:
http://www.amazon.com/Emancipated-Spectator-Jacques-Ranci%C3%A8re/dp/184467343X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1264000587&sr=8-

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ALSO OUT NOW:

New in Paperback

HATRED OF DEMOCRACY

Published 7 December 2009

978-1-84467-386-5 / Paperback /$16.95 /£8.99 / 112 pages

In his new book, Jacques Ranciere examines how the West can no longer simply extol the virtues of democracy by contrasting it with the horrors of totalitarianism. As certain governments are exporting democracy by brute force, and a reactionary strand in mainstream political opinion is willing to abandon civil liberties and destroy collective values of equality, Ranciere explains how democracy—government by all—is the principle that de-legitimates any form of power based on the superiority of those who govern. Hence the fear, and consequently the hatred, of democracy amongst the new powers that be.  HATRED OF DEMOCRACY rediscovers the ever-new and subversive power of the democratic idea.

To buy the book in the U.K:
http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/9781844673865/Hatred-of-Democracy
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hatred-Democracy-Jacques-Ranci%C3%A8re/dp/1844673863/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1264006391&sr=1-2

To buy the book in the U.S:
http://www.amazon.com/Hatred-Democracy-Jacques-Ranci%C3%A8re/dp/1844673863/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1264000236&sr=8-1

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THE FUTURE OF THE IMAGE

Published 23 February 2009

978-1-84467-297-4 / Paperback /$16.95 /£9.99 /152 pages

The leading theorist of the art-world – the adjective ‘Rancierian’ is already in use –returns with his bestselling manifesto on the relationship between art and politics, now in paperback.

To buy the book in the U.K.:
http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/9781844672974/The-Future-of-the-Image  
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Future-Image-Jacques-Ranciere/dp/1844672972/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1264006443&sr=1-1

To buy the book in the U.S:
http://www.amazon.com/Future-Image-2009-paperback/dp/1844672972/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1264000279&sr=1-1

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

Wavering on Ether: http://blog.myspace.com/glennrikowski

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

What is Living and what is Dead in the Ideas of the SI?

 

 

A meeting organised by Principia Dialectica

28 November 2008

7.30pm, in The Lucas Arms, Grays Inn Road, King’s Cross, London

Nearest underground stations: King’s Cross or Chancery Lane

 

 

Principia Dialectica: http://www.principiadialectica.co.uk

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