Yesterday, the police interrogated me at length about the journal and the Situationist organization. It was only a beginning. This is, I think, one of the principle threats that came up quickly during the discussion: the police want to regard the SI as an association in order to set about its dissolution in France. I protested, emphasizing that the artistic movement was never legally constituted by moral individuals in a declared association. Not being constituted, the SI cannot be officially dissolved, but they tried to intimidate us heavily. It seems they take us for gangsters!
This volume traces the dynamic first years of the Situationist International movement—a cultural avant-garde that continues to inspire new generations of artists, theorists, and writers more than half a century later. Debord's letters—published here for the first time in English—provide a fascinating insider's view of just how this seemingly disorganized group drifting around a newly consumerized Paris became one of the most defining cultural movements of the twentieth century. Circumstances, personalities, and ambitions all come into play as the group develops its strategy of anarchic, conceptual, but highly political "intervention."
Brilliantly conceived, this collection of letters offers the best available introduction to the Situationist International movement by detailing, through original documents, how the group formed and defined its cultural mission: to bring about, "by any means possible, even artistic," a complete transformation of personal life within the Society of the Spectacle.
About the Author
Writer, filmmaker, and cultural revolutionary, Guy Debord (1931–1994) was a founding member of the Lettrist International and Situationist International groups. His films and books, including Society of the Spectacle (1967), were major catalysts for philosophical and political changes in the twentieth century, and helped trigger the May 1968 rebellion in France.
"The pathos of these letters is that Situationism is falling apart even as it is coming together, and that, in the complicated machinations of his scattered group, Debord is able to perform as many acts of friendship as he does of malice. To borrow the title of the film he made in 1959 about his Lettrist friends, the letters trace a 'passage of a few people through a rather brief moment in time,' a tracing again triangulated by three comrades above all—Pinot, Jorn and Constant.", Hal Foster, London Review of Books