A critique of the Situationist International, emphasizing the divergent trajectories of Guy Debord and Raoul Vaneigem, focusing on the role of the concept of alchemy in the SI’s theory of the revolution, with discussions of, among other topics, revolution as “transmutation”, the alchemical proto-dialectic and its relation to the Hegelian-Marxist dialectic of “supersession”, Vaneigem’s alleged debt to Schopenhauer (the “will to live”), André Breton and the “alchemy of the word”, the meaning and origin of the metaphor of the quest for the “evil Grail”, the enigmatic Hamburg Theses, and the “contradictions” of the SI’s favorable attitude towards automation and technology.
A short summary of the history of the Situationist International, with brief discussions of its artistic origins, its significance as the “the most political artistic vanguard and the most artistic political vanguard” of its time, the role of the critique of everyday life in the development of its project, and the recuperation of many situationist themes by capitalism since May ’68, whose achievements with regard to individual freedom "were nothing but the pale reflection of the freedom of the market”.
Notes on “The Situationist International: The Art of Historical Intervention” – Miguel Amorós
- Separation perfected (Debord, Guy)
- Commodity as spectacle (Debord, Guy)
- Unity and division within appearance (Debord, Guy)
- The proletariat as subject and as representation (Debord, Guy)
- Time and history (Debord, Guy)
- The organization of territory (Debord, Guy)
- Negation and consumption within culture (Debord, Guy)
- Ideology materialized (Debord, Guy)
“Mode d’emploi du détournement” originally appeared in the Belgian surrealist journal Les Lèvres Nues #8 (May 1956). This translation by Ken Knabb is from the Situationist International Anthology (Revised and Expanded Edition, 2006).
A User's Guide to Détournement (1)
From situationism to the abyss: a pamphlet against the harmful phenomena of the encyclopedia - Alpha Vingt
A libertarian Marxist/communist critique of the Encyclopedie des Nuisances, chronicling the group's evolution from situationist-inspired councilist activism during the 1970s, to its "abandonment of any kind of revolutionary perspective" during the early 1990s, until its final surrender to "passive contemplation of the catastrophe" and "apocalyptic defeatism" during the late 1990s. Includes critiques of Guy Debord's situationist theory and the Frankfurt School.
From Situationism to the Abyss:
A Pamphlet against
the Harmful Phenomena of the Encyclopedia – Alpha Vingt
In this essay the EdN argues that, in light of the destruction of the old framework of working class resistance, revolutionaries must start all over from scratch (Ab Ovo--"from the egg") and engage in new forms of contestation under the new totalitarian conditions imposed by the autonomous development of the society of the spectacle, for the "future economic secession of the immense majority".
Ab Ovo – Encyclopédie des Nuisances
T.J. Clark and Donald Nicholson-Smith on why art can't kill the Situationist International in October 79, Winter 1997.
"[i]What does it matter to us what judgments may later be passed upon our obscure personalities? If we have seen fit to record the political differences that exist between the majority of the Commune and ourselves, this is not in order to apportion blame to the former and praise the latter.