Mehdi Belhaj Kacem, Philippe Sollers | What is the Meaning of the Avant-garde’s Death?

FIRST PUBLISHED: DIAPHANES How could Dante be avant-garde? Mehdi Belhaj Kacem: Mr. Sollers, for 23 years you were the editor of Tel Quel, doubtless the very last important literary review that can be considered “avant-garde.” It published some of the biggest “avant-garde” writers of its time, like Pierre Guyotat, Maurice Roche, Jean-Jacques Schuhl and yourself, as well as still-unknown academics like Jacques Derrida, Roland Barthes and Gérard Genette. You also published Pierre Boulez and Jean-Luc Godard, who, like the writers and thinkers I just mentioned, were the leading avant-garde figures in their respective fields. In 1983 you left Les Éditions du Seuil,…

Devin Fore | Soviet Factography: Production Art in an Information Age (Sergei Tret’iakov)

  If facts destroy theory, then all the better for theory. —Viktor Shklovsky, “In Defense of the Sociological Method,” 1927   Any discussion of factography first has to deal with the conspicuous strangeness of the word “factography” itself, an awkward and selfconsciously technicist term coined in Russia in the latter half of the 1920s to designate a certain aesthetic practice preoccupied with the inscription of facts. Those who are familiar with contemporaneous avant-garde movements in other countries and who may also be skeptical of the early Soviet zeal for linguistic invention will wonder if factography is not simply another word…

Mehdi Belhaj Kacem | Tomb for Guy Debord

Guy Debord was the avant-garde’s Christ. Guy Debord was the avant-garde’s Christ. He was immolated by his own ideology, which he more than anyone (Tzara, Duchamp, Artaud, the Viennese Actionists…) had pushed to its extremes. He covered all of its possibilities, all of its impasses. His extreme attempts were neither successes, nor failures. Today, his path should be evaluated through other methods: the ones left to us in the wake of the avant-garde’s disappearance. To put it as Reiner Schürmann does: truth is a “conflictuality without agreements.” It is within Debord’s insurmountable contradictions, whose political, aesthetic, and existential preoccupations were…

Esther Leslie | Walter Benjamin

Esther Leslie | Walter Benjamin  ⇒   PDF (Full book)       For a Marxist Poetics of Science: An Interview with Esther Leslie First published in Historical Materialism Can you tell us a bit about your intellectual and political formation? I come from a political family — my parents were Trotskyists, my grandparents on one side were anarchists and, on the other, one grandfather had been involved in unemployment marches. There was a strong sense of class consciousness and political engagement at home. My anarchist grandfather, who was German, was a book publisher and bookseller in London and so we were…

DIE AFFÄRE LEBOVICI | PSYCHOGEOGRAPHIE [ACTE XVIII]

  Zum Umsturz aller bestehenden Ordnung aufzurufen / Scheint furchtbar. / Aber das Bestehende ist keine Ordnung. // Zur Gewalt seine Zuflucht zu nehmen / Scheint böse. Aber da, was ständig geübt wird, Gewalt ist / Ist es nichts Besonderes. Bertolt Brecht   Die ganze Affäre [wie auch der modus operandi] ist geprägt von einem Klima persönlichen Verrats und politischen Hinterhalts: Gérard Lebovici [Herausgeber der Editions Champ Libre, Produzent und Freund Guy Debords] in einer Tiefgarage in der Avenue Foch, Chaillot. Porte Dauphine mit vier Kugeln im Hinterkopf auf dem Vordersitz seines Wagens; Polizei, D.S.T. & Renseignements généraux zeichnen eine…

Alexander Trocchi | A Revolutionary Proposal: Invisible Insurrection of a Million Minds

And if there is still one hellish, truly accursed thing in our time, it is our artistic dallying with forms, instead of being like victims burnt at the stake, signalling through the flames. — Antonin Artaud, The Theatre and Its Double, 1958 Revolt is understandably unpopular. As soon as it is defined, it has provoked the measures for its confinement. The prudent man will avoid his definition which is in effect his death-sentence. Besides, it is a limit. We are concerned not with the coup d’etat [seizure of the state] of Trotsky and Lenin, but with the coup du monde [seizure of the world], a transition…

Jean-Michel Mension | The Tribe

The Tribe Contributions to the History of the Situationist International and Its Time Full book: PDF Jean-Michel Mension “As for Guy, he succeeded, I gather, in working very little and living the life of the perpetual drinker and boozy thinker to perfection. For my part, I took a different route politically: I did work, unlike Guy, who says he never worked, but at bottom I think that we never changed. I still hold to the same positions, even if in my case they translate into quite different tactical political choices. The main thing is to persevere, to hold on to the…

Guy Debord | Panegyric

“Panegyric means more than eulogy. Eulogy no doubt includes praise of the person, but it does not exclude a certain criticism, a certain blame. Panegyric involves neither blame nor criticism.” LITTRÉ, Dictionnaire de la langue française.   “Why ask my lineage? The generations of men are like those of leaves. The wind casts the leaves to the ground, but the fertile forest brings forth others, and spring comes round again. So it is that the human race is born and passes away.” Iliad, Canto VI.     I “As for his plan, we profess to be able to demonstrate that there…

Tiqqun | This Is Not a Program

“’77 wasn’t like ’68. ’68 was anti-establishment, ’77 was radically alternative. This is why the ‘official’ version portrays ’68 as good and ’77 as bad; in fact, ’68 was co-opted whereas ’77 was annihilated. This is why, unlike ’68, ’77 could never make for an easy object of celebration.”
— Nanni Balestrini, Primo Moroni, L’orda d’oro

Guy Debord | All the King’s Men

What is poetry if not the revolutionary moment of language, inseparable as such from the revolutionary moments of history and from the history of personal life? […] The point is not to put poetry at the service of revolution, but to put revolution at the service of poetry. […] Every revolution has been born in poetry, has first of all been made with the force of poetry. This phenomenon continues to escape theorists of revolution — indeed, it cannot be understood if one still clings to the old conception of revolution or of poetry . . .

Theses on the Paris Commune | Guy Debord, Attila Kotányi & Raoul Vaneigem

The Commune represents the only implementation of a revolutionary urbanism to date — attacking on the spote the petrified signs of the dominant organization of life, understanding social space in political terms, refusing to accept the innoncence of any monument. Anyone who disparages this attack as some “lumpenproletarian nihilism,“ some “irresponsibility of the pétroleuses,“ should specify what he believes to be of positive value in the present society and worth preserving (it will turn out to be almost everything).

Guy Debord | Society of the Spectacle

Guy Debord | Society of the Spectacle PDF   & Society of the Spectacle (New Annotated Translation of the book by Ken Knabb) PDF   Society of the Spectacle is a black and white 1973 film by the Situationist Guy Debord based on his 1967 book of the same name. It was Debord’s first feature-length film. It uses found footage and detournement in a radical Marxist critique of mass marketing and its role in the alienation of modern society.     Preface to the Third French Edition of The Society of the Spectacle La Société du spectacle was first published…

Guy Debord | In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni

  I will make no concessions to the public in this film. I believe there are several good reasons for this decision, and I am going to state them. In the first place, it is well known that I have never made any concessions to the dominant ideas or ruling powers of my era. Moreover, nothing of importance has ever been communicated by being gentle with a public, not even one like that of the age of Pericles; and in the frozen mirror of the screen the spectators are not looking at anything that might suggest the respectable citizens of…

Guy Debord and the Situationist International | Text and Documents [edited by Tom McDonough]

Guy Debord and the Situationist International Texts and Documents edited by Tom McDonough PDF Critical texts, translations, documents, and photographs on the work of the Situationist International This volume is a revised and expanded version of a special issue of the journal October (Winter 1997) that was devoted to the work of the Situationist International (SI). The first section of the issue contained previously unpublished critical texts, and the second section contained translations of primary texts that had previously been unavailable in English. The emphasis was on the SI’s profound engagement with the art and cultural politics of their time (1957-1972),…

Guy Debord | Comments on the Society of the Spectacle

Guy Debord | Comments on the Society of the Spectacle   PDF First published in 1967, Guy Debord’s stinging revolutionary critique of contemporary society, The Society of the Spectacle has since acquired a cult status. Credited by many as being the inspiration for the ideas generated by the events of May 1968 in France, Debord’s pitiless attack on commodity fetishism and its incrustation in the practices of everyday life continues to burn brightly in today’s age of satellite televisionand the soundbite. In Comments on the Society of the Spectacle, published twenty years later, Debord returned to the themes of his…

Giorgio Agamben | Marginal Notes on Comments on the Society of the Spectacle

Giorgio Agamben | Marginal Notes on Comments on the Society of the Spectacle (2) PDF     The Uses of the Body [Prologue] by Giorgio Agamben It is curious how in Guy Debord a lucid awareness of the insufficiency of private life was accompanied by a more or less conscious conviction that there was, in his own existence or in that of his friends, something unique and exemplary, which demanded to be recorded and communicated. Already in Critique de la séparation, he thus evokes at a certain point as intransmissible “cette clandestinité de la vie privée sur laquelle on ne possède jamais…

Giorgio Agamben | The Coming Community

Giorgio Agamben | The Coming Community (3) PDF       Guy Debord Letters to Giorgio Agamben Champot, 24 August 1989 Dear Sir: Thanks for the press clippings that you transmitted to me. I am happy to learn that Italy, despite certain quite serious obstacles, is better informed than France and several other countries, which are still at the moment of “Nashist”-museographical falsifications, laughably inaugurated by the burlesque “Pompidou Center.” And most particularly because I myself have had the chance to learn much in Italy. I send you a very recent book to complete your intelligent documentation. Quite cordially, Guy Debord…

Guy Debord’s Cinema

Guy Debord’s Cinema PDF Jason E. Smith | Guy Debord, Filmmaker Jacques Rancière | When We Were on the Shenandoah Editors of Internationnale situationiste 1 | With and Against Cinema Kaira M. Cabañas | Hurlements en faveur de vous Soyoung Yoon | Cinema against the Permanent Curfew of Geometry: Guy Debord’s Sur le passage de quelques personnes à travers une assez courte unité de temps (1959) Jason E. Smith | Missed Encounters: Critique de la séparation between the Riot and the ‘Young Girl’ McKenzie Wark | The Insolent Edit Benjamin Noys | Guy Debord’s Time-Image: In girium imus nocte et consumimur…

Olivier Assayas on Guy Debord

  Olivier Assayas on Guy Debord Two interviews. The first was recorded by Enrico Ghezzi and Roberto Turigliatto in June 2001, and published in Italian in the catalog of the Debord retrospective at the Venice Film Festival. Reread, corrected, and completed in March 2002 for the catalog of the retrospective presented at Magic Cinéma in Bobigny. English translation by Chris Fujiwara, as found on fipresci.org. The second was recorded by Brian Price and Meghan Sutherland, and published on worldpicturejournal.com in spring 2008. 1 It’s very tricky to talk or write about Debord, in the sense that his is the work…

Ralph Rumney | The Consul

Ralph Rumney | The Consul PDF Ralph Rumney has been in constant flight from the wreckage of postwar Europe. Crossing paths with every avant-garde of the past fifty years, he was one of the founding members of the Situationist International. Rumney’s traveling companions — Guy Debord, Pegeen Guggenheim, Asger Jorn, Michèle Berstein, Bernard Kops, Yves Klein, Marcel Duchamp, Georges Bataille, William Burroughs, Félix Guattari, E.P. Thompson, Victor Brauner, and many others — are recalled in the oral history with sharp intelligence and dry wit.         The Consul: Contributions to the History of the Situationest International and Its Time…

Why Brecht?

Dmitry Vilensky /// Why Brecht? That’s great art: nothing obvious in it – I laugh when they weep, I weep when they laugh. Bertold Brecht If we try replacing the word “opera” with culture or art in Brecht’s text “OPERA – WITH INNOVATIONS!”, it paradoxically becomes clear that Brecht’s analysis of the situation more than 70 years ago is more than relevant today. Of course, many things have changed, such as the notions of power, class, labor, the means of struggle. But still, anyone who is still capable of considering the necessity of connecting thought and action now hits upon…

Alain Badiou | The Rebirth of History | Times of Riots and Uprisings

Alain Badiou; The Rebirth of History | Times of Riots and Uprisings (Full Book)   History and the Sphinx: Of Riots and Uprisings by Jasper Bernes, Joshua Clover Riots are the Sphinx of the left. Every soi disant radical intellectual feels compelled, it seems, to answer the riddle they hear posed by the riots of the present, in Bahrain or Asturias, Chile or Britain: Why now? Why here? Why riot? These answers generally come in a few simple varieties. First, if the riot seems to lack focus or present clears demands – that is, if it is illegible as “protest,”…

Jacques Rancière; The Emancipated Spectator (5th International Summer Academy)

  I gave to this talk the title: « The Emancipated Spectator » . As I understand it, a title is always a challenge. It sets forth the presupposition that an expression makes sense, that there is a link between separate terms, which also means between concepts , problems and theories which seem at first sight to bear no direct relation on each other. In a sense, this title expresses the perplexity that was mine when Marten Spangberg invited me to deliver what is supposed to be the “keynote” lecture of this academy. He told me that he wanted me…

Sylvère Lotringer, Christian Marazzi: AUTONOMIA

AUTONOMIA POST- POLITICAL POLITICS (Full book)   The Return of Politics THE IMPOSSIBLE CLASS The workers in Europe should declare that henceforth as a class they are a human im- possibility, and not only, as is customary, a harsh and purposeless establishment. They should introduce an era of vast swarming out from the European beehive, the like of which has never been experienced, and with this act of emigration in the grand manner pro- test against the machine, against capital, and against the choice with which they are now threatened, of becoming of necessity either slaves of the state or…

Theater der Grausamkeiten [6.1 / 6.2]

              Ich hätte Blut durch den Nabel scheissen müssen, um zu erreichen, was ich will. Artaud   All das um zu sagen dass Tzara Artauds Stab berührte als berührte er seinen Schwanz wodurch er im Übrigen nur einen weiterer Schrein geistiger Masturbation errichtet, einen Schatten den man mit ein paar Nägeln im Kopf des Suchenden fixiert, dass Artaud während der neun Jahre die das Gesetz ihn festsetzt / einer Justiz die nur als letzter eitriger Ausfluss einer bourgeoisen Krätze auftritt / ihn bindet, 50 Elektroschocks aussetzt und ins hyperglykämische Coma spritzt, dass die Gesellschaft…