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Fortnights: Situationist International

Tuesday November 7,  730pm.   FREE

FORTNIGHTS, Rhizome's communal learning series, is untaught and unled. Our discussion/action groups are an opportunity for people to learn about a topic by reading, discussing, and then experimenting with the ideas that grow out of our discussions.

For our next installment we propose to examine the ideas and writings of the Situation International (SI). Originating in the Lettrist movement in Paris in the early 1950s, the Situationist International brought together currents of experimental poetry, avant-garde art, and radical social criticism to explore new techniques of engagement in cultural protest and revolutionary praxis. Although the organization itself remained small and disbanded in 1972, the SI shaped the interaction of art and politics at crucial moments in the evolution of postwar culture and Its influence continues to be felt today.

Through its journal Internationale Situationniste (IS) and other texts, the Situationists developed an increasingly incisive and coherent critique of Western multinational capitalism. Additionally, the new methods of agitation developed by the SI were highly influential in leading up to the May 1968 revolt in France.  Since then, situationist theses and tactics have been taken up by radical currents in dozens of countries all over the world, perhaps most notably in the punk movement in England in the mid-1970s.

In this incarnation of Fortnights we will read and discuss two texts that are essential to an understanding of the SI’s theory -  The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord (the SI’s leading theorist throughout its existence), and The Revolution of Everyday Life by Raoul Vaneigem. We will also read selections from the situationist journal Internationale Situationniste (IS) and discuss key ideas such Detournement, the Derivé, Psychogeography, and the Spectacle.