Featured image: Reason #732 to Learn How to Speak French: The Guy Debord Cineaste streams
McKenzie Wark, author of The Beach Beneath the Street, will give a talk at Furtherfield Gallery about his latest book The Spectacle of Disintegration – Situationist Passages Out of the 20th Century.
Writer and academic Dr Richard Barbrook will give a short introduction to Wark’s work and to Situationism and its relevance to contemporary culture.
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This event has limited availability, to book a place please contact: ale AT furtherfield DOT org
Over fifty years after the Situationist International (SI) first appeared, the group’s restlessly creative experiments in the practice of life – of living, playing and working together – continues to influence activists, artists and writers. From hacker culture and Anonymous, to versions of pyschogeography in the popular writings of Iain Sinclair and Will Self, traces of the whole spectrum of Situationist ideas and practices can be found throughout culture today.
Following his acclaimed history of the SI, The Beach Beneath the Street, McKenzie Wark continues the story after the failures of May 1968. Charting its post-sixties legacy and putting the late work of the Situationists in a broader, deeper context, Wark locates their contemporary relevance, as digital culture opens up new possibilities of experience and new terrains of struggle.
The Spectacle of Disintegration takes the reader through Guy Debord’s late films and his surprising work as a game designer, the political aesthetics of former Situationist T.J. Clark, the Fourierist utopia of Raoul Vaneigem, René Viénet’s earthy situationist cinema, Gianfranco Sanguinetti’s pranking of the Italian ruling class, and Alice Becker-Ho’s account of the anonymous language of the Romany.
Wark builds on their work to map the historical stages of the society of the spectacle, from the diffuse, to the integrated, to what he calls the “disintegrating spectacle.” At once an extraordinary counter history of radical praxis and a call to action in the age of financial crisis and the resurgence of the streets, The Spectacle of Disintegration recalls the hidden journeys taken in the attempt to leave the twentieth century and plots an exit to the twenty-first.
The Beach Beneath the Street re-presented the Situationist project in response to the demands of our time, to discover the lost entry-points to the routes of play, adventure and resistance in contemporary experiences of communication, architecture, and everyday life. Writing against the boredom induced by the ossified remains of the twentieth-century encounter with art and politics, Wark declares that whilst the Situationists failed to escape the world of spectacle, there might still be hope for us…
More info on Wark’s publication at Verso Books
McKenzie Wark is the author of A Hacker Manifesto, Gamer Theory, 50 Years of Recuperation of the Situationist International and The Beach Beneath the Street, among other books. He teaches at the New School for Social Research and Eugene Lang College in New York City.
Dr Richard Barbrook is the author of Imaginary Futures: From Thinking Machines to the Global Village. In 2008 it won the Marshall McLuhan Award for Outstanding Book of the Year in the Field of Media Ecology . He is a founding member of Class Wargames and co-wrote the script to the group’s film: Ilze Black (director), Class Wargames Presents Guy Debord’s The Game of War .