[OPE-L] "Situationism is dead. Long live situationism!"

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Fri Jun 08 2007 - 19:10:17 EDT

Off-topic, to be sure. Yet, some of you may find the following article
by Bob Black to be as interesting as I did.

In solidarity, Jerry

>rest of article is at:
>The Realization
>and Supression of Situationism
>Bob Black
>No avant garde tendency ever tried harder, fully aware what was at
>stake, to escape the curator's clutches than did the Situationists,
>even in their initial phase of intervention in the art scene. They
>knew that their Futurist, Dadaist, Surrealist and Lettrist forebears
>had been, in their word, recuperated, that is, recovered by and for
>the existing order. An order which showed itself as the spectacle, the
>"organization of appearances." Art - already image - is the
>easiest of all specialties to recuperate. All you have to do is ignore
>it or, if that doesn't work, buy it.
>The Situationists conceptualized recovery and diversion as polar
>types, as of course they are, but forgot that they are ideal types,
>abstractions from the concrete actuality of experience - aids to
>interpretation, ladders (in Wittgenstein's metaphor) to be climbed up,
>then thrown down. All forms are mixed. Recovery and diversion are
>abstractions just like the points and the lines of geometry which have
>never been found in the wild, only approximated there. To complicate
>matters still more, recovery and diversion (unlike points and lines)
>form a continuum, not a dichotomy. Neither the Situationists nor the
>managers of the spectacle ever had full control over their
>manipulations of ideas and images. Nobody does. Diversion can also
>recuperate, recuperation can also divert. And so the recuperation of
>Situationism which is unmistakably occurring at an increasing pace is
>not necessarily entirely anti-Situationist.
>Since 1972 unchaperoned by any organization, situationism has been
>available for various uses, some dubious. Punks pilfered it for
>subliminals. Museologists curated it. Marxist academics at Telos
>explained it away as Frankfurt School philosophy as harmless as they
>are. Pro-situ hustlers like Tom Ward traded on their expertise in it.
>SI veterans reminisced about it, but only the ones who'd been
>excluded. Anarchists either maligned it or miscegenated with it.
>Poseurs congratulated each other for having heard of it. Somewhere,
>workers might have appropriated it, although this is sheer
>It is all over -
>and at the same time it is all over the place. Situationism is dead.
>Long live situationism!

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