Friday, April 27, 2012

April 27, 1957: Situationist International

1957 Italy: Situationist International (1957 - '72) founding conference, at Cosio di Arroscia. The SI is often attributed as being one of the key ideological catalysts for the May 1968 revolution centred around Paris.
The founding conference was composed of eight men and women from different European countries. Some founders of the SI came from radical art groups that emerged around 1950 but were still little known: COBRA, called after the magazine of a northern-European (Copenhagen - Brussels - Amsterdam) group of experimental artists and members from the Lettrist International in Paris.
In the 10-plus years of its existence, the Situationist International had about 70 members; some of them were Guy Debord, Michéle Bernstein, Christopher Gray, Jaqueline de Jong, Asger Jorn, Dieter Kunzelmann, Guiseppe Pinot-Gallizio, Alexander Trocchi and Raoul Vaneigem.

The Situationist International
Spectacle is a slogan, used by a Paris based group known as Situationists, to describe capitalism, the state, the whole shooting match. Owing as much to the Surrealists and Dada as Marx and Bakunin, the Situationists' starting point was that the original working class movement had been crushed, by the Bourgeoisie in the west, and by the Bolsheviks in the east; working-class organisations, such as trades unions and Leftist political parties had sold out to World Capitalism; and moreover, capitalism could now appropriate even the most radical ideas and return them safely, in the form of harmless ideologies to be used against the working class which they were supposed to represent. "A science of situations is to be created, which will borrow elements from psychology, statistics, urbanism and ethics. These elements have to run together to an absolutely new conclusion: the conscious creation of situations."

There are numerous sites of interest, but Ken Knabb's Bureau of Public Secrets is the best beginning place, with numerous personal pieces, as well as collecting articles and materials of the SI – all well organised and accessible, with new materials added frequently: also has a nice collection of core material, Situationist International
The Mital site, says the Daily Bleed, provides a quick, useful overview and introduction to the SI, with some contextual material.
Adapted from Wikipedia: The Situationist International (SI), an international political and artistic movement, originated in the Italian village of Cosio di Arroscia on July 28, 1957 with the fusion of several extremely small artistic tendencies: the Lettrist International, the International movement for an imaginist Bauhaus, and the London Psychogeographical Association. This fusion traced further influences from COBRA, Dada, Surrealism, and Fluxus, as well as inspirations from the Workers Councils of the Hungarian Uprising.
The journal Internationale Situationniste defined situationist as "having to do with the theory or practical activity of constructing situations." The same journal defined situationism as "a meaningless term improperly derived from the above. There is no such thing as situationism, which would mean a doctrine of interpretation of existing facts. The notion of situationism is obviously devised by antisituationists."
The most prominent member of the group, Guy Debord, has tended to polarise opinion. Some describe him as having provided the theoretical clarity within the group; others say that he exercised dictatorial control over its development and membership. Other members included the Scottish writer Alexander Trocchi, the English artist Ralph Rumney (sole member of the London psycho-geographical society, Rumney suffered expulsion relatively soon after the formation of the Situationist International), the Scandinavian vandal-cum-artist Asger Jorn, Attila Kotanyi, a veteran of the Hungarian Uprising, the French writer Michèle Bernstein, and Raoul Vaneigem.
Situationist International Online    The Situationist International Text Library Chronology of Situationism    Situationnistes    Situationists - an introduction
The Realization and Suppression of Situationism by Bob Black    'The Society of the Spectacle'
Spectacular Times The Culture Jammer's Encyclopedia
Against Sleep And Nightmare Magazine    Wilson's Almanac Book of Days hip list
Bureau of Public Secrets    Texts     Situationism/Dada    More    More    And more    Yet more


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