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Bolek i Lolek na Dzikim Zachodzie Movie. New York Yankees. Download Movie Les allumettes suedoises online. The party was an imitation, a thing apart, not an expression of proletarian power. Lefebvre writes of how capital makes the modern city.
Capitalism divides time into work time and leisure time. It further divides work time up into equivalent units—workers are usually paid by the hour— and tries to make each unit as productive as possible. Leisure time is free from work, but tends increasingly to be used for consumption. The worker is paid to work in the factory, and pays to spend her free time consuming factory-made products. Such is the standard Marxist view of time. It corresponds to a certain experience of space.
There is work space, leisure space, and resting space. The worker works in one space, spends free time in another, and schleps home to sleep in a third. They stay awake nights. They implicitly accept the denun- ciation mounted from such otherwise incompatible sources as Sartre, Isou and Lefebvre of the futile gestures of surrealism. In that brief time he hung out in the jazz cellars, drank with the tribe, signed texts by the Letter- ist International and wrote a novel about it.
Rambler well led despite himself in a labyrinth of colors and shadowy forms, incapable of assimilating them, distorted interpretation, according to a deformed optic, and however shockingly accurate. The battle picked up from the point where it was brutally interrupted yesterday, from the heap of bricks and fire, automatic incubator, and from the perverse perforation, certain, of light.
The ultimate everyday renaissance. Perhaps the derive could be a prac- tice that leads to quite another project than literature. It is a time that plays in between the useful and the gratuitous. Leisure time is often called free time, but it is free only in the negative, free from work. But what would it mean to construct a positive freedom within time? The breakaway Letterist International created a new practice, a new way of being in the world, out of which to derive a new kind of practice.
Capital extends or intensifies the working day; labor struggles to shorten it, and within it to resist speed-ups and other attempts by capital to extract more value from it. Perhaps it is this shared fixation on productive time that will draw both capital and labor towards the middle-class cultural norm. The Letterist International sought a quite different concept of time, resolutely based on non-work. But if there is no work, then there is no leisure either. Obsessed with old wounds.
Unable to forget. Unable to get up. At its melancholy end. The Letterist International refuse the separation of urban space from urban culture, each assigned to their own specialists. They refuse the separation of the external, social space of the city from the internal, private space of subjectivity. The subjective belongs to the city and can be analyzed experimentally, much as the city is subjective and can be reconstructed to expand with our desires.
Academic geography in France arose out of the defeat of the Franco-Prussian war. If the dominant form narrowed its focus to an objective science of landscape existing outside of social practice, there was also a counter-geography, more interested in social practices of landscape-making.
From an aristrocratic family, Chombart was a Catholic, with progressively more leftist lean- ings throughout the s and 50s. Before the war he studied with Marcel Mauss, from whom he took an organic conception of socialism and commitment to social science as the study of social problems, with a view to their solution.
His monumental study of Paris and its environs came out in , and would become a critical point of reference for the Situationist theory and practice of psychogeography. Chombart used a range of methods to construct an understanding of the city as both form and process, ranging from aerial surveillance to interviews with workers.
He could clearly see in the photographs of Paris a slightly squished version of the concentric rings that the Chicago School claimed defined urban space. These concentric zones, like the rings of Saturn, orbit what the Chicago urbanists christened a central business district. The qualities of the zones are deter- mined by the price of land within them, which is a function of their distance from the center. Or as Chombart might say more directly: class maps onto space. Chombart came to advocate a participatory approach to town plan- ning, but always with something of an aerial—or what Bataille would call Icarian—view, flying over and detached from the city and its tangle of situations.
He recuperated social geography for the science of landscape. He was all too easily seduced by the idea of housing the working class in Corbusian mega-blocks, for their own good;31 All this made him a con- spicuous target for attack by Debord and friends.
Psychogeography is a practice of the city as at once an objective and subjective space. It is not the city as mere prompt for surrealist rever- ies. Nor is it a thing apart, to be dissected by social science, no matter how well-meaning. The city of Debord, Chtcheglov and their friends is a complex beast, always in process, with its own rhythms and life cycle, as it is for Chombart.
What Chtcheglov and Debord add to this is a certain turbulence. The city is an aesthetic practice irreducible to the interests of state or market. The surrealists brought psychoanalysis to the streets, but it was only a detour, on the way back to literature. In place of the chance encounters of the surrealists, they create a practice of play and strategy which invents a way of being, outside of commodified time and outside of the separate disciplines of knowl- edge—including geography.
Henceforth the city will not be a site for fieldwork but a playing field, in which to discover intimations of a space and time outside the division of labor. The goal is nothing less than to invent a new civilization which will make a mark on historical time with the grandeur of the Temple of the Sun. The civilization of play had already existed. Even little Saint- Germain—a handful of city blocks—left a trace.
To Chtcheglov, the ideal setting for a new avant-garde was not the metropolis of commerce or industry, but tourism. In the United States government issued a warning that if nothing was done, Las Vegas would run out of water by In the jungle is a city that moves. When its inhabitants build new dis- tricts it is always to the west. Each time they cut the ribbon opening a new district, an old one to the east is abandoned, gradually to disappear beneath the overgrowth of tropical vegetation.
This is more like it! The moving city would burst the bubble of the sustainable city, the fantasy that the city can become one with its environment, a pure homeostasis, outside of history. Why can such a city not exist? The conceit of private property is that it is some- thing fixed, eternal. Once it comes into existence it remains, passed in an unbroken chain of ownership from one title-holder to the next.
Yet in the course of time whole cities really do disappear. We live among the ruins. We later cities know we are mortal. And yet in the name of property we would hold back the very sea. The village of Siasconset sits atop a bluff on the island of Nantucket, Massachusetts, a prize location for those of means, except for one thing.
Even the great city of Teotihuacan failed to stop time. Yet as early as they realized that capital could not go on treating all of space and time as resources for its own quantitative expansion. They had lived through the war as children and knew, at least second-hand, of the destructive power of modern technology. Why could that power not be used to build a different kind of civilization in the ruins? In the twenty-first century we live more and more with the consequences of the failure to make just such a qualitative break.
They aimed it not only at rival avant-gardes, but at geog- raphy, urban studies, sociology—the legitimate knowledges of the city. Psychogeography made the city subjective and at the same time drew subjectivity out of its individualistic shell. It is a therapy aimed not at the self but at the city itself. Letterists did not shrink from the aerial surveillance made possible by wartime technical advances, but did not make a fetish of it either.
It may well seem that the moving city is impractical, impossible. But is it any less impossible than holding back the sea? Is it any less impos- sible than building garden suburbs in the Nevada desert? The Letterist International discovered the power of a kind of negative action. They show what cannot be done within the limits of actually existing capital- ism.
Having failed to take that exit, now we are trapped on an express- way that seems to keep going until the end of the world. There could be worse plans than turning back to look for the last exit, for which the Letterist International thought it saw the signs. Actually, the Letterist International scouted at least two exits. The other points to a larger scale and a longer duration, perhaps to history itself, but grasped by its most tenuous emanations—language, images, the sign.
Ambrose admits that he plagiarized many passages of his book The Wild Blue. More scandal: the historian Doris Kearns Goodwin admits that she borrowed passages in her book, The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys, from three works by other authors. She said she confused verbatim notes with her own words.
They are caught between the monotonous consistency of official historical narratives and the demand that the middle-class author have a unique vision that is his or her personal prop- erty. No wonder they resort to copying one another. Hypocrisy is the hush money that vice pays to virtue. Given the poverty of middle-class history, perhaps what the times require is a double reappropriation: both of the history of Debord and company, and of the mode of his- torical thinking to which they aspired, and which they occasionally achieved.
Progress implies it. To be well made, a maxim does not call for correction. It calls for development. A drunken God presides from a throne of gold and shit. The starlings obey the voice of instinct, and their instinct leads them to bunch into the center of the squad, while the speed of their flight bears them constantly beyond it; so that this multitude of birds thus united by a common tendency towards the same magnetic point, unceasingly coming and going, circulating and crisscrossing in all directions, forms a sort of agitated whirlpool whose whole mass, without following a fixed course seems to have a general wheel- ing movement round itself resulting from the particular circulatory motions appropriate to each of its parts, and whose center, perpetu- ally tending to expand but continually compressed, pushed back by the contrary stress of the surrounding lines bearing upon it, is constantly denser than any of those lines, which are themselves the denser the nearer they are to the center.
He was a noted scholar of the works of Alfred Jarry — , to whose memory the College was consecrated. Started in , the College was a playful, armchair version of the avant-garde impulse. Some of its instigators had day jobs. And it was no joke. The task was to systematize it and—more to the point—practice it.
Gil Wolman —95 was not entirely of the Saint-Germain tribe. He had a home to go to—and often brought others to crash there. He lived with his mother. His Jewish father, deported during the war, never returned. Where Isou chiseled it down to the letter, Wolman pushed on to a poetry of pure sounds, and on again, to a performance art of the diaphragm, of the epiglottis, of corporeality itself. For the moment they were comrades in a civil war against a culture intent on settling for some warmed-up leftovers, banalities such as abstract painting, Beat writing, or existential philosophy, as if these would suffice to fill the void opened up by the war itself.
But the Letterists got caught up in their own fame. It was proof of the relative independence of formal development within the arts from social and economic determination. Art has a relative auton- omy, its forms develop in their own time, only partly coinciding with a wider historical process. For Debord and Wolman, development might require going back in order to go forward. The originality of the Letterist International consists in understanding form not as literary form, in terms of genre, style, poetics and so forth, but as material form, as the book, the film, the canvas.
Materiality is the key to the lag by which past culture shapes present culture. If the effects in the architectural domain seem mostly negative, there might be some hope in the lag effect of certain texts. But for past works to become resources for the present requires their use in the present in a quite particular way.
It requires their appropriation as a collective inheritance, not as private property. All culture is derivative. Rather than chiseling language down to its bare elements, Debord and Wolman propose something else. Not the destruction of the sign, but rather destruction of the ownership of the sign.
One is that it should be made by and for all the senses at once. The other sense of a poetry made by all is a poetry made by the communal appropriation of the past in the present. The cheapness of its products is the heavy artillery that breaks through the Chinese walls of understand- ing. It is the real means of proletarian artistic education, the first step towards a literary communism. Where Saillet spoke of a communism of genius, this becomes a literary communism.
It compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of pro- duction; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilization into their midst, i. In one word, it creates a world after its own image. Capital produces a culture in its own image, a culture of the work as private property, the author as sole proprietor of a soul as prop- erty.
The aim is the destruction of all forms of middle-class cultural shopkeeping. As capital spreads outwards, making the world over in its image, at home it finds its own image turns against it. Debord and Wolman discuss a metagraphic composition by Debord—a memorial for Kaki—and the way classified ads about bars for sale con- tribute to the affect of a remembrance for a suicide.
It is its undoing. It brings class struggle both into and out of language. But what is distinctive about this fetishism is that it does not rest directly on the status of the thing as a commodity. It is, rather, a fetishism of memory. It is not so much commodity fetishism as co-memory fetishism. In place of collec- tive remembrance, the fetish of the proper name. There is no particular size or shape.
It could be a single image, a film sequence of any length, a word, a phrase, a paragraph. What matters is the identification of the superior fidelity of the element to the ensemble within which it finds itself. It has to do with ownership. Michel Foucault —84 undermines the romantic theory of authorship by speaking of discourse as a distribution of author func- tions. It made the procedures in which academics are obsessively drilled the very form of power itself.
As if that by which academics are made, the molding of their bodies to desks and texts, that about which they know the most, even more than they know their allotted fields, were the very index of power. This language is inaccessible in the highest degree to confirmation by any earlier or supra-critical reference point. On the contrary, its internal coher- ence and its adequacy in respect of the practically possible are what validate the symbolic remnants that it restores.
Needless to say, the best lines in this chapter are plagiarized. It hardly counts as plagiarism if the text itself gives notice of the offense—or does it? Plagiarism upholds private property in thought by trying to hide its thefts. Moreover, it treats it not as a crea- tive commons, not as the wealth of networks, not as free culture or remix culture; but as an active place of challenge, agency, strategy and con- flict. Not surprisingly, official discourse has a hard time with this concept.
The meandering stream that runs from the Letterist International to the Situationist International and beyond is the course not taken, and remains a troubling memory for critical thought. The path not taken poses the difficult question: what if one challenged the organization of knowledge itself? What if, rather than knowledge as a representation of another life, it was that other life? Here the Situationists stand as a prophetic pointing of the way towards a struggle for the collective reappropriation and modification of cultural material.
One that need only become conscious of itself to re-imagine the space of knowl- edge outside of private property. Every kid with a bitorrent client is an unconscious Situationist in the making. What remains is the task of closing the gap between a critical theory gone astray, still caught up in the model of knowledge as property, and a popular movement that cannot quite develop its own consciousness of its own power.
At stake is the viability of history itself. Officially, history is a spir- itless chronicle of events, one damned thing after another. It is so unsatisfying that apocalyptic thinking about time has made a big come- back. To some it seems more plausible that they will shake hands with Jesus than that they could have a hand in their own destiny.
But there is official history and there are other histories, including a history of the desire not to end history but to partake of it. The very idea of history as a process of collective self-making has itself been through a few historical stages. Then came Louis Althusser —90 and structural time, differences meshing and permutat- ing. Then, in desperation, some brought back from the dead Walter Benjamin — and his messianic time, which recasts history from the perspective of its redemption.
As the twentieth century flopped from one catastrophe to the next, many gave up on history, but what looked to them like defeat was to others the napalm smell of victory. Sure, the Marxists had their history, which developed through its own internal laws of motion from feudal- ism to capitalism to socialism, but for Walt Rostow — the latter is just a wrong turn, the industrial state gone mad. The real ter- minus of historical action was American liberal capitalism.
Or perhaps there was another stage to come, what the sociologist Daniel Bell — christened the post-industrial society. Work itself will become playful and creative. Commodities will not be mass-produced but custom-made. Not socialism with a human face but capitalism with a smiley face.
The cold war was a clash of historical fictions, Marxist versus anti- Marxist. The outcome seemed far from certain. This left fellow-traveling Western artists and intellectuals with few choices. One was to attach themselves to another promised land. For Althusser this was China. The revisionists left the destination of socialism intact, just changed its address and the route to get there.
Another choice was to go back to the past in search of the turning point where the narrative of history went wrong, and to become, if not the actual, then at least the spiritual inheritor of the October revolution. This was the choice of the Trotskyites. They will not abandon historical thought, nor chime in with one or other chorus as the repre- sentative of its destination.
To them all the capitals of this world, from Washington to Moscow to Beijing, are capitals of the same spectacular society. This tiny band would set themselves against power in its total- ity. A futile project, perhaps, but powerful in its very futility, in casting the whole century in negative relief. The other history, the historical practice left unexplored, restores causality but renders it fluid, complex, turbulent. But not for all that arbitrary or formless.
History is no machine, no structure, nor does it call for the solace of a merely figurative redemption. By the mid s Guy Debord achieved some notoriety with his film Howling for Sade , and drew around himself the motley collection of drunks, drifters and geniuses known as the Letterist International. Yet in the Letterist world was more of a constraint on its own ambitions for upending the world.
The Letterist International too had to die in the war of time. It was no longer adequate to its own discoveries. The Letterist International passes on to the Situationist International the practice of a negative action, which lays bare the gap between eve- ryday life in twentieth century capitalism, and what it leaves to be desired.
What the Letterist International have going for them is the consistency of an everyday life lived as negation. What they do not have is either the depth of experience or the consistency of theoretical invention that might come with it. That will come from the encounter with Asger Jorn. Tintomara was very striking, and both men and women could hardly help but be captivated by her.
Or by him, for Tintomara had both a male and a female aspect, like one of those eight-limbed beings of Aristophanes, who met all their own desires and lacked for nothing. Only he did not just break and turn. Regardless of whether Asger Jorn ever read Tintomara, he was fond of Almqvist and shared with him commitments to a distinctive Scandinavian cultural tradition, to a peculiar combination of mystic and materialist thought, and to a radical conception of aesthetics which could combine extremes of romanticism and realism.
In the end her lifeless body will be left to twist in the wind. But from Almqvist to Jorn there is a line of thought, of creation, of cultural action that tries to make a world fit for its Tintomaras. Asger Jorn —73 is admired as an artist. The art historian and former Situationist T. Jorn the theorist is intimately connected, not just to his art, but also to his extraordinary life.
In Jorn took off for Paris on a motor- cycle. He spent the war years in his native Denmark, secretly printing a monthly Communist journal and working with the Hell-Horse group, whose project fused leftist politics, modernist aes- thetics and pan-Scandinavian culture. After the war he returned to Paris. Jorn and Constant, together with Belgian surrealist poet Christian Dotremont —79 would be central figures in the Cobra movement, which lasted from to It was here that Jorn found time for an extensive reading of Kierkegaard thanks to a priest at the sanitar- ium who had the collected works.
He studied at the Bauhaus in Dessau for a year or so before the war, and had developed his own aesthetics and politics out of his close contact with modernist artists and designers of the interwar years. But this also teaches us that we must throw ourselves into the confusion and act directly on the contra- dictions by creating new ones, if we want to fertilize development.
It has not kept up with developments in the materialist world view which rediscover these traditions. The creative act cannot concern itself solely with the beautiful and the functional. The ultimate purpose of a new form cannot be known in advance. With the Imaginist Bauhaus Jorn wanted to revive, on a broader footing, the experimental aesthetic practice of Cobra — He saw such collaborative aesthetic experiments as an essential compo- nent of the Bauhaus legacy.
Where Sottsass introduced a playfulness and openness quite foreign to Bill, and central to the formation of a postmodern style in design, neither Bill nor Sottsass really thought critically about the creation of form within the social and natural worlds in the manner to which Jorn aspired.
His intellectual, artistic and activist formation had come earlier. His politics came from arguments on the Scandinavian left. His practical abilities emerged in the communist-aligned cultural resistance to Nazi control of Denmark. His intellectual formation is a more complicated matter.
Jorn developed an original and extensive aesthetic and politi- cal theory of art, abreast of, but outside, the established avant-garde patterns of the time. The Marxist in Jorn expects capitalism to collapse, but not through class struggle so much as ontological struggle. Its inability to grasp its own nature condemns it. Class division is original sin, and the struggle on the aesthetic, political and philosophical planes alike is to restore, not a lost unity but a lost process, an open, creative, play of differences in which collective human endeavor transforms nature without imitating it, but without dominating it either.
Marxist aesthetics is in thrall to the classical. Marx and Engels had not thought through the consequences of their discoveries. Their ide- alized view of classical—particularly Greek—form distorts the whole of Marxist thought and practice.
Here Jorn turns to Nietzsche, and his distinction in the Birth of Tragedy between an Apollonian aesthetic of form and the Dionysian aesthetic of process. Jorn views Apollo and Dionysus as a tension between aristocratic and folk life. When the cultural representatives of the ruling classes make war against serpents, dragons, sirens, they are at war with nature, includ- ing human nature—our species-being. They are at war, more precisely, with the Dionysian aspect of our species-being that the subordinate classes embody.
The Apollonian version of classical culture represses crea- tion, process, difference, and leads to a slavish reduction of flux to static and ideal forms, to representation rather than expression. It is not so much that there is a conflict between the Dionysian and the Apollonian, but that they are two different ways of understanding and practicing conflict.
For Jorn there are two kinds of dialectic— dualist and monist. The monist dialectic is a more subtle kind of movement. While Jorn still speaks in a Marxist vein of dialectic, he reads the dialectic as flux. Creation emerges out of giving oneself over to the play of alternating and ramifying movement, out of which something new can arise organically.
Art belongs to the infrastructure of society, not to the super- structure. Art is a fundamental kind of social production. Marxism breaks with classical tradition by assigning priority to action rather than contemplation, but its error is to consider art only as a form of contemplation. Art is action. The qualitative practice of art is as much part of the base of the capitalist social forma- tion as its quantitative production process.
The ontological failure of capital, its inability to perceive and produce its own reality, stems from the domination of the quantitative over the qualitative process. Jorn breaks with the privileging of science that he finds particularly in Engels. Jorn distinguishes between what he calls a world view and an attitude to life. Both, he insists, can be materialist, but they do not always go together. Even when science has a materialist world view, it does not necessarily have a materialist attitude to life.
It sees matter as reducible to quantitative data, which in turn measure abstract forms and yield eternal laws. In Australian scientists discovered that bees on cocaine are much more enthusiastic about sources of food they have found. This surely would qualify as an instance of the materialist world view at work—scientific procedure, falsifiable results—without the materialist attitude to life. Everything about it is to remain partitioned from the everyday, which continues in its routine form, free from any whiff of the experimental.
The material- ist attitude to life is precisely materialism which takes the qualitative transformation of matter into life as primary. The limit for Jorn to scientific socialism is that it embraces a materialist world view, but not a materialist attitude to life. His artistic materialism proposes to fill this gap. Aesthetic experiment is the necessary complement to scientific experiment, but it is not an imitation of science.
While science extends knowledge and expands the materialist world view, art creates a way of life by shaping material characteristics according to desire. If science concerns itself with objective truth, then art will search for subjec- tive truth. Aesthetics is prior to ethics. Aesthetics is about desires; ethics about duty. The capacity that matters in art is that of actualizing desires. What is best in the aesthetic is not the work of art as a representation of phenomena.
The aesthetic is a cultivating factor, forming and transforming habits of life. As such, the aesthetic is prior to science, which extracts regularities from the aesthetic, but is dependent on a given stage in its development for its materials. It is that within which philoso- phy is situated. It is that which philosophy begins to think. Ruling-class art—the Apollonian—represents the world as made in its own image, and assigns a subsidiary role in that representation for that which it fears.
What it fears is the alignment of popular power with the forces of nature as an open-ended process, as the capacity to overthrow form, including political form. Dionysian art is folk memory of the social capacity to merge the processes of nature and desire. This is what attracted Jorn to ritual and mysticism. Unlike Bataille, he was not looking for traces of an ineffable absolute, but rather for a form of knowledge of the capacities latent in the social apprehension of the world.
Communal expression will become a core program of the Situationist International, at least in its early years. Art is playful; play is social. This is why play develops best in community. While Jorn aligns himself with the popular against ruling-class art, he does so critically.
For a famous series of works called Modifications —62 , Jorn painted on some amateur pictures he bought in the flea market, but without obscur- ing the figures and landscapes of the Sunday painters. While Jorn approved of the democratization of art, it fell short of its own power.
Popular art risked losing its playful quality. Art can extend the cooperative qualities of nature into social life. Jornian nature does not really yield an ethical model to imitate. Without at this time quite realizing it Jorn is heading away from the historical determinism of his Marxist training. In some respects he anticipates the Spinoz- ism of Gilles Deleuze. From it Jorn extracts an ontology of nature as flux, differ- ence and also cooperation on the basis of which Jorn asserts that class struggle is an aberration, and that the social Darwinist model of nature as competition is false.
It is not homo economicus, or the war of all against all. But what distinguishes Jorn from Engels is not just that his readings in scientific literature are more contemporary; they are readings of a different kind. Jorn does not aspire to a materialist world view, as Engels did, but a materialist attitude to life. He wants not a metaphysics legitimized by science but a pataphysics that reads science creatively.
Rather than imitate scientific writing, Jorn—like Alfred Jarry, appropriates from scientific writing according to his own desires. His ontology is true to the collective experience he lived through, of Hell-Horse, Danish socialism, the Resistance. His version of Marx diverges from all the main currents of what would come to be known as Western Marxism. The aesthetic begins by organizing the powers of matter and elaborating them in a way that responds to their complexity.
It is a tabula rasa for what is to come; for an art of the future. Le Corbusier aligns the aesthetic with a materi- alist world view, but not a materialist attitude to life. Perhaps it is no surprise then that Le Corbusier took a top-down approach to building new worlds. Likewise, abstract art became dominant because a new ruling class could tolerate neither the symbols of the old one nor the express desires of the people.
But the problem for the development of a popular art is a split between the symbol and the community. The symbols artists can come up with now are diagrams of personal forces, not social ones. This is a problem even for radical artists. Surveying the generation before his, Jorn observes that Klee found symbols, but not popular ones; Mayakovsky became the voice of the people, but at the expense of the symbol. He shared with Debord an attachment to the beauty of Paris street plans and subway maps, and saw them as part of a larger aesthetic tra- dition.
Jorn was almost but not entirely seduced by the primitive. But the significance of mystery has been betrayed by the course of historical development. Religion emerges because of the deviation from a truly naturalistic and social human development. In class society, religion replaces an open totality with a closed and imaginary one. Originary mysticism is the worship of fertility, the materialis- tic cult par excellence.
This was the idyllic line of thought Jorn proposed in the wake of an era of mass destruction. Dualism comes from class society: ruling-class spirit pits itself against subordinate class matter. Each produces a world view of illusory unity in isola- tion from social processes. Against this, Jorn asserted the vitality of a spontaneous, creative aesthetics and a series of three revolutionary forms from below: anarchist, syndicalist, and communist.
Cobra failed as a movement at least in part because it positioned itself as a communist art form, only to be rejected and vilified by party art commissars. That which is for-itself, consciousness, presupposes something external to it. Once this gap disappears, then freedom disappears too. To be free is not to have what one desires, but to determine oneself to desire.
To desire is to act on that desire. To be free is, paradoxically, not a choice. The street might look beautiful to him, or it might not, but this is just the street as an object of contemplation. As a situation it is some- thing else. The situation is an ambiguous phe- nomenon in which consciousness cannot distinguish in advance the contribution of freedom and the contribution of the in-itself.
The street Sartre wants to walk is the object of his freedom. His freedom selects it. But what his freedom cannot determine is whether it can be walked safely without running into the police. This is part of the brute existence of the street. But the street only reveals its hazards to his walking it when he makes it the object of his desire to walk. He integrates it into the project of walking. He cannot determine in advance what comes from freedom the for-itself and what from the in-itself of the street.
It is Sartre who determines what is a constraint on freedom by positing freedom in the first place. Thus while the curfew appears as a limit to his action, it is his freedom which constitutes the method and the ends of action in relation to which the curfew appears then as a limit. What meaning can there be in the freedom to walk at night, through the Paris of the mid s, the curfew of the occupation lifted and the curfew of the Algerian war not yet descended?
There is still the police to contend with, and delin- quent Letterists and their friends would occasionally end up in jail for the night. It is rather the flux, the monist dialectic, which produces as one of its effects the experience of the gap between in-itself and for-itself in the first place. The interest is not in consciousness and its freedom, but in the production of new situations as an end in themselves.
In the Letterist International, Jorn saw fellow travelers engaged in the critical practice of producing an autonomous space for new practices. The most influential appropriation of Marxist thought would be that of his contemporary, Louis Althusser. They could hardly be more differ- ent. It took science rather than aesthetic practice as its model.
Althusser stayed within the Communist Party with Maoist sympa- thies rather than break with it. He made Marxism respectable within the space of the academy, rather than attempting to found a new nexus between theory and practice outside of it. Althusser was much more interested in history as objective process than as subjective practice. And these are precisely the reasons why Jorn now merits attention, and why his thought deserves development.
Jorn points towards the question of practice, outside of, and now after the eclipse of, both the Communist and bourgeois versions of history. If Althusser cements a place within the academy for developing Marxism as a critical postwar discourse, he does so at the expense of aligning it with high theory. Marx is absorbed into the conventions of academic thought, into its spaces of authority, its codes of discipline, its temporality of semesters and sabbaticals.
Jorn offers something in addition to all that. In its fifteen years of existence, only seventy-two people were ever members. It was born out of the fusion of two and a half existing groups, the Movement for an Imaginist Bauhaus, the Letterist International and the London Psycho- geographical Society the last represented by its one and only member, Rumney.
Debord the tactician saw the Letterist International as something of a dead end. Iron infected our blood. The complete renuncia- tion of what one might now call middle-class life cut them off from vital resources. The project would— temporarily—require some resources to advance its aims. Of all the roles Debord chose for himself, not to mention those assigned to him by posterity, the one that receives the least attention is that of secretary.
Not the least interesting thing about him might be the tactics with which he ran the Situationist International, and the best way to approach them is via his Correspondence. Prepared by his widow Alice Becker-Ho b. But the price is terribly high: , for the cover for only 1, copies of the journal , but especially 60, for supplementary expenses to the printer, representing a lot of work in folding and sewing, entirely by hand— the machines break the Lumaline, which soon tears.
The practice of the exclu- sion of members from the Situationist International begins very soon after its founding. As a good secretary, Debord has little tolerance for opportunism or ineptitude. Ralph Rumney lasts almost a year. Between harass- ment by his mother-in-law, Peggy Guggenheim, and the birth of his son, Rumney had his hands full.
Rumney took photographs of the Beat writer Alan Ansen and arranged them as a narrative with captions. There is no bound- ary marking of the space of a game from the space outside it. Play has no conditions for winning or losing, and no end condition determined in advance. Play simply comes to an end when Runmey spots Lawrence Alloway, the English art critic, and in this case spoil-sport.
Take as an example Jeff Koons b. But while the Situationist International is often compared to such a party, the parallel is usually made by people who have never belonged to one. Situationists were expected to know what was expected of them, and without being told. It was a failure to live up to expectations. The red flag shrouds its martyred dead, whose blood dyes its every fold. The Situationists borrowed at least this much from the communists—that the exclusion of living members meant social death.
Given that communist culture really did comprise an entire social world, to be excluded from the party really did mean excommunication. The Situationists had no such power. But they wrestled with the problem of how to make collec- tive belonging meaningful, as something requiring some sacrifice. The possibility of exclusion made participation in the Situationist game meaningful. Not the least difference between the Situationists and the Com- munist Party is that the former rarely recruited.
A solidar- ity around these perspectives. This is the paradox of the doctrine of no doctrine. The Situationist International formed itself in part out of the material of the art world, but anticipated the overcoming of art as a separate practice. The Situ- ationists were never an artistic avant-garde.
Situationists create new collaborative play-forms out of the old materials of the separate creative practices, of which art was just one. The moments of inclusion and exclusion within the Situationist International are best explored in relation to this strategy, rather than attempting to decode them as banal dramas of personality.
If not, we will discover bitterly that the architects, sociologists, urbanists, etc are as limited as the painters in their defense of the particular prejudices of their separate sectors. As secretary Debord tacks this way and that, trying to keep the International together.
Around the time the Situationist International was founded, Debord was twenty-five, Constant was thirty-seven, Jorn was forty-three, and Gallizio fifty-five. These discrepancies should be borne in mind when reading his letters to each of them. Given his relative youth, the self- confidence of the letters is extraordinary.
This was the event that laid the groundwork for the formation of the Sit- uationist International the following year in Cosio, where he would become a founding member. His goal was what he called an anti-patent process for the sharing and modification of life. They produced industrial painting. These were only very minimally the product of actual machines. The idea was more that painting could be made using mechanisms of repetition and varia- tion to undermine the unique gesture.
The result would bring together the creative and singular with the serial and repeated. He had been a member of the Cobra group with Jorn, but had moved away from painting towards experiments in new kinds of potential urban form. It was Gallizio who set Constant on the path to his famous New Babylon project of unitary urbanism when the two of them were together in Alba.
It was an idea not without precedent. For Constant, art had come to an end. A unitary urbanism of constructed situations supersedes all of the separate arts. Without this, the integration of art in the construction of human habitat remains as chimerical as the propos- als of [Ivan Chtcheglov].
Debord is caught between the left and right wings of the movement. And though the artists are excluded one by one, Constant is not appeased and resigns anyway, and the movement, so to speak, moves on. But this is the moment, like the opening scene in a novel or film, where circumstances are fluid, where many things are possible. One discovers in the first three years of the Situationist International many potential versions of it, besides the ones of legend or even historical record.
This is perhaps why so many keep returning to them, and to these early years in particular, as the scene of a moment in still-living movement, or in other words, a situation. Against Constant and the Dutch section, Debord makes two charges, both in many respects per- spicacious.
What can intellectuals do without liaison with an enterprise that brings global change to social relations? While Jorn was starting to rethink class in interesting ways, the Situationist International was at something of an impasse, caught in the old dilemma between romantic revolt and class struggle. The second issue concerns the status of unitary urbanism. Take note of it.
Unitary urbanism is not a conception of the totality, must not become one. It is an operational instrument to con- struct an extended detour. Unitary urbanism is much less a positive, constructive mod- eling and more a negative and critical tactic for opposing the kind of tower-block mentality that characterized postwar reconstruction. Legend has it that when Debord broke with people he simply cut them dead and moved on. With Constant this was not the case, and for once the correspondence continues on, to the stage of a love gone wrong.
It may sound like just a pretext, but one of the essential components of the Situationist International was the internal exchange of documents and their donation to external parties. As this incident highlights, the group was held together by the gift. The gift enters Situationism via the writings of the socialist anthropologist Marcel Mauss — , which were taken up and expanded into a theory of the general economy by Georges Bataille.
Both drew on anthropological work by Franz Boas — and others working among Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest, and their concept of potlatch. This version of the gift linked it closely to reputation. The gift is not selfless charity, nor is it a Christmas present. The Situationists sold their journal in bookshops, but many were given away and for the same reasons: to exchange time, energy and materials for reputation.
The Situationist International was a provi- sional micro-society founded on its own quite particular economy of donation and reputation. While various of its activities might be sup- ported by selling art to collectors or other banal forms of compensated labor, there is a sense in which the Situationist International was a grand potlatch, consigning to the flames the thought and work of a whole little community, daring the world to match its extravagant consump- tion of its own time.
It was a quite paradoxical economy. Debord and in particular Jorn practiced it in much the same spirit, even saw it as the basis for a break beyond socialist thought and action. They wanted a parallel competence to the marxisant political economy still thought to explain the workings of the base. Derrida proposes instead that the gift must interrupt the economy. The gift is not supposed to be returned. It is outside circulation and circular time. Giving suspends all calculation.
The gift is canceled by any reciprocation, return, debt, countergift or exchange. Derrida departs from anthropology by thinking the gift in its singularity, outside of exchange, to reveal just how troubling it is to any such structural logic. For the Situationsts, the very impos- sibility of the pure gift calls into being a whole terrain of possibility for an art and politics of the impurity of the gift.
Every impure gift forces both giver and receiver into the invention of an attitude to life that can accept the gift, but not exchange it. The invention of everyday life could be nothing but the inventive accommodation to gifts, to the subtle art of not returning the gift, of giving again in a way that is not circular, that does not simply pass on the debt.
Exchange affirms the identities of givers and receivers, and the value of the thing exchanged. Exchange arises as a way to contain the dis- turbing capacities of the gift. Not only does Derrida construct a theory of the gift, his writing inserts itself into just such an unreturn- able practice, or tries to. The Situationist International composed a whole micro-society on the premise of potlatch, that is, the art and politics of the gift.
Potlatch is not really sustainable. The early years of the Situationist International are a game of potlatch, of the gift of time, in which the players, in the end, run out of moves. For Debord in particular, the challenge of the gift of time went, in his terms, unmet. It was time to forget and move on. The vigorous application of the principle of exclusion took care of that.
The Situationist International exercises a continued fascination because its members made a gift of their time that was not returned in their own time. They did not really take their place in the exchanges of views between the journals and groups of their time.
Their beautiful, expensive journal—with Lumaline covers or not—did not so much cir- culate as spiral off into the void. But still, something remains of an uncanceled gift. The early years of the Situationist International are ones in which it may develop itself, elaborate itself, ornament itself—in many possible directions. The movement exercises a lasting fascination on art histori- ans for this reason. All of the major figures of the early years have their favorites, who excise them from the game and hoist them up as their champions.
What is perhaps more interesting is to keep these figures in play, to view what passes between them as what matters. And perhaps also what passes unnoticed, undetected in this flux of passions between temperamental men. It is just something a character not unlike Debord takes a train to Amsterdam to attend to, before hurrying back to a quite different kind of game. A game in which women not only figure, but which they may even win. The first is the couple in love getting together despite all obstacles; the second is how unhappily they live ever after.
In the novel, a woman can refuse marriage. She may be drawn toward sexual ecstasy, but that way lies poverty, misery and social exclusion. Proper love is of the sacred domesticated kind, placed in the service of reproducing the heterosexual family and passing on property. Socialist writers, from Fourier to Engels to Alexandra Kollontai had long opposed marriage as a relation which makes women into property, and pointed to the hypocrisy of the bourgeois gentleman who polices the sexual fidelity of his wife yet goes adventuring in bohemia for a bit on the side.
And yet in postwar France, the figure of the monogamous, hetero- sexual couple became ever more widespread. Called upon to lead France into the future, these couples are the class whose very way of life is based on the wish to make the world futureless and at that price buy security. The couple refuses both the patriarchal past of Vichy and the feminist future of The Second Sex, and secures a private space where the good life of the spectacle can be brought home and domesticated.
The map charts three possible jour- neys from the town of New Friendship at the bottom. Friendship could take the paths of Inclination, Esteem or Gratitude to one of three desti- nations in the center of the map. It could wander off course,and end up in dismal places such as the Lake of Indifference.
Or, the journey could go too far, into uncharted territory. The goal was not marriage. Hers was a Sapphic alternative to Platonic relationships between men, a tenderness that can be sus- tained, developed, transformed, and ornamented, without rupture. It can become the material of play and strategy.
How is a modern woman who lives in a so-called open relationship with a man supposed to retain her hold on him, if he starts an affair that has a little more intensity than usual? Affairs are allowed. They are within the rules, but they are not supposed to break with a funda- mental agreement between the man and the woman.
And if this man is coming too close to breaching that agreement, what stratagems can the woman employ to see that he returns to it? Bernstein borrows from socialist, bohemian and aristocratic writings to create an alternative to the middle-class ideal of the married couple. Those of Robbe-Grillet were a high-modern- ist analogue of the new consumerist and technocratic France of those years.
The technical purported to solve all problems. It suffices to reproduce works. Litera- ture discreetly integrated itself into the spectacle. In The Night we learn of the sexual tension between them. The painter covets his stepdaughter. Gilles takes her wan- dering around the streets of Paris, and in the morning finally makes love to her.
They pass beside a column, a streetlight rather, on which is fixed, above their heads, a blue and white sign indicating by an arrow: Cluny Museum. On the same column, another signal, luminous and blinking, is the only one that attracts the glance of the passersby. At regular intervals, for the pedestrians, the permission to go or the order to wait flashes.
Gilles and Carole pass near the column without seeing it. Gilles waits, before crossing, for the cars to stop. Carole follows Gilles, who holds her by the nape of the neck. They take the direction indicated by the sign Cluny Museum, and skirt the railings of the garden of the museum. If the top slot is positioned in the middle and balls are released into the grid of pins, the chances are that most balls will deviate a bit when they hit the pins but will fall in one of the center slots below.
A few of the balls will end up bouncing farther off the center line, but overall the device will show a Gaussian distribution. Pinball arrived in Saint-Germain bars such as the Mabillon and the Old Navy after the war, and became a favorite way for quarter people to waste time. Arthur Adamov wrote an absurdist play about it called Ping-Pong There are tilts, there are eddies, there are zones that attract the balls and zones that repel them.
All that remained was to bounce around it like a shiny silver ball, and find its psychogeographic centers of gravity. The Galton machine is like a street layout or a telephone network, a flat and even field, a distributed network.
Actually, some passages are more likely than others, but only by playing the game does this become clear. The city, unlike the Galton machine, may have several vortices of gravity.
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