Sunday, 14 June 2015

Guy Debord's Society of the Spectacle

                                            Guy Debord

In his fascinating book written in 1967 the Society of the Spectacle, Guy Debord leading figure of the French Situationist International argued that to succumbing to alienation caused by capitalism we have let our lives become colonised  by an immersive experience.
This spectacle has replaced social interaction and human needs. While this is superficially satisfying it  makes us isolated and lonely individuals.It is still one of the greatest theoretical examinations  of our social-cultural conditions describing in pinpoint accuracy the dreadful corporate globalization currently sweeping the planet.The spectacle accompanies us throughout our lives, via News Propaganda, advertising, enertainment and yes social media, presenting a continuous stream of imagery, projecting a constant justification for how our society and culture is formulated.
The text was  a primary influence not only on  the near-revolution of May 1968 in Paris, but also on the ethos of London's  underground press and certain aspects of punk ideology. The SI developed out of an earlier Left Bank twitch of avante garde politics, carring out programs of provocation, graffit and antiparty revolutionary outrage. The Situationists were concerned to articulate a 'theory of moments,'  propogating ideas of pleasure and depicting the personal as intrinsically political (' boredom is always counterrevolutionary ' sneered one of their mottoes. Debord dissolved the SI ( proclaiming its victory over history') in 1972, their impact has been assured. Again we need t break with conventions, break out of our desolate paradigms, and be free.Viva the Situationists.
Sadly in 1994 aged 67, in the isolated village of Champot high in the Auvergne, Guy Debord shot himself with a single bullet to the heart.

Below Guy Debords 1967 text is remade into a contemporary context and turned into a mind-bending short film,with contributions from Marshall Mc Luhan and John Berger, made bt Aska with sound by Pippin Kenworthy.

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