“Every day we are denied an authentic existence and sold back its representation.” The Situationists called for and set about creating a revolutionary theory based on “radical subjectivity”—abolition of work, imagination seizing power, a new era of play, and rejection of hierarchy—through the dada tactics of subversion.

The Situationist International issued a series of revolutionary manifestoes and other works in France in the first half of the ‘60s which completely redefined the zones of combat for the streetfighter of our media-saturated age. Their declaration of our collective existence as “the spectacle”—the world of illusions that our system has imposed where images become more than the things they represent—seems prophetic rather than dated a generation down the line.

Since the spectacle appropriates every form of dissent through its “recuperation”—repackaging rebellion as commodities (usually in the form of LPs seemingly)—subversion (or “détournement”) destroys the spectacle’s message while hijacking its impact.

The Situationists were largely responsible for inspiring the May ‘68 revolution which began at Nanterre University near Paris and nearly paralyzed Gaullist France. The rebels of ‘68, seeing the enemy as cybernetic power-bureaucrats of all stripes, left us such graffitti as “humanity won’t be happy till the last bureaucrat is hung with the guts of the last capitalist.”

Situationist thought reared its head again in mid-’70s England where the tactics of media-insurrection were practiced on a grand scale by the Sex Pistols, only to be recuperated by a Thatcherite Britain to a degree yet to be surpassed.

“The crane, the pulley and other hydraulic devices started out as theatrical paraphernalia; it was only much later that they revolutionized production relations. It is a striking fact that no matter how far we go back in time the domination of the earth and of men seems to depend on techniques which serve the purposes not only of work but also of illusion.” — Raoul Vaneigem, from The Revolution of Everyday Life — SS


The Art Strike Papers/Neoist Manifestoes

Edited by Stewart Home and James Mannox

These two titles are published back to back, upside down in the manner of the old two-fer pulps. The Neoist manifestoes are republished from Smile magazine which Home called “the official organ of Generation Positive, a movement so avant-garde that it consisted solely of myself.” In 1984, Home joined forces with a Dada-influenced group calling itself the Neoists. As far as can be gleaned from the manifestoes, it would appear that starting art movements as an end in itself is a sort of 20th-century art form. The writing in the actual manifestoes is by turns silly, and occasionally, actual ly brilliant. The influence of Tristan Tzara is especially in evidence, and one manifesto suggests that “Neoism is not a philosophy at all, it is an illegible note that Tristan Tzara allowed to fall from his breast pocket prior to a performance at the Cabaret Voltaire in 1916.” It should be noted that these writings are among the first public offerings from a very young and prolific writer.
The Art Strike notion has been floating around the art world since 1968. During martial law in Poland, artists refused to exhibit their work in state galleries, leaving the ruling class without an official culture. Home writes,”what’s important are the questions that something like this poses. Hopefully it is as much about triggering doubts as anything else.” The Art Strike that occurred from 1990 to 1993 came about largely as a giant mail-art event and consisted of this series of essays by various people which raise, among others, the question of how effective such a declaration can be in a free marketplace. The standout among The Art Strike Papers is a piece entitled “Art and Class” by Home. The publication of these two titles as a single book allows us to see Home’s growth as a writer and theorist over a crucial decade in his development. SA

Publisher: AK
Paperback: 100 pages

The Assault on Culture: Utopian Currents from Lettrisme to Class War

Stewart Home

Thumbnail outline of the seemingly mazelike “utopian” (read “anti-commodity”) movements that seek to replace art and work with some form of more genuine expression. Ties together pataphysics, COBRA, lettrists, Situationist International, Fluxus, auto-destructive art, Provos, Yippies, White Panthers, punk, mail art, and other currents. Anti-romantic non-coffeetable, anti-art history. SS

Publisher: AK
Paperback: 120 pages

The Book of Pleasures

Raoul Vaneigem

A further exploration of Situationist themes, from the most readable, accessible and witty of the original situ writers. AK

Publisher: Left Bank
Paperback: 106 pages



“In the autumn of 1983 a tape recording of a telephone conversation between President Reagan and Prime Minister Thatcher was sent anonymously to newspapers in various parts of the world. A covering note claimed that the tape was a recording of a crossed phone line on which was heard part of the two leaders’ telephone conversation. In January 1984, the story was taken up by the Sunday Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. The Sunday Times described the tape as part of a KGB propaganda war. The U.S. State Department said that the tape was evidence of ‘an increasingly sophisticated Russian disinformation campaign.’ In fact the tape was made by members of the anarchist punk-rock group Crass. The tape had been produced by using parts of TV and radio broadcasts made by the two leaders, then overdubbed with telephone noises.”

Publisher: AK
Paperback: 24 pages

Comments on the Society of the Spectacle

Guy Debord

Guy Debord dramatically broke 20 years of silence to eloquently update his prophetic call-to-arms. “In 1967, in a book entitled The Society of the Spectacle, I showed what the modern spectacle was already in essence: the autocratic reign of the market economy which had acceded to an irresponsible sovereignty, and the totality of new techniques of government which accompanied this reign. The disturbances of 1968, which in several countries lasted into the following years, having nowhere overthrown the existing organization of the society from which it springs apparently spontaneously, the spectacle has thus continued to gain strength; that is to spread the furthest limits on all sides, while increasing its density in the center. It has even learned new defensive techniques, as powers under attack always do… Since the spectacle today is certainly more powerful than it was before, what is it doing with this additional power? What point has it reached, that it had not reached previously? What, in short, are its present lines of advance?”

Publisher: Verso
Paperback: 94 pages

Contributions to the Revolutionary Struggle: Intended to Be Discussed and Principally Put Into Practice Without Delay

RATGEB (Raoul Vaneigem)

Theses and treatises on life and how to live it, in Vaneigem’s beautiful, witty style. AK

Publisher: Elephant
Paperback: 40 pages

Guy Debord Is Really Dead

Luther Blisset

Stinging attack on the Situationist International and its legacy—”the major failures of the Situationist International considered in their historical, cultural, psychological, sexual and especially political aspects, appended with the modest proposal that we cease allowing the traditions of the dead generations to dominate the lives of the living.” AK

Publisher: Sabotage
Pamphlet: 40 pages

In Girum Imus Nocte et Consumimur Igni

Guy Debord

Complete film script, with an introduction and stills of his last film. Gives an account of the Situationist International’s activities in Europe during the 1950s and ‘60s, reflects on the present situation of the cinema as a social form, and offers a theoretical treatise about the current conditions of consumer capitalism. AK

Publisher: Pelagian
Paperback: 96 pages

Neoism, Plagiarism and Praxis

Stewart Home

A collection of work from novelist and art agitator Stewart Home, this brings together his writings from the mid-’80s onward. This book is concerned with what’s been happening at the cutting edge of culture since the demise of Fluxus and the Situationists. It provides inside information on the Neoists, Plagiarists, Art Strikers, London Psychogeographical Association, K Foundation and other groups that are even more obscure. Rather than offering up a continuous narrative, the text is made of articles, manifestoes, lectures and essays. AK

Publisher: AK
Paperback: 209 pages

Open Creation and Its Enemies

Asger Jorn

According to Jorn, “The field of situlogical experience is divided into two opposed tendencies—the ludic tendency and the analytical tendency—in the tendency of the art, spin and the game, and that of science and its techniques.” By Ken Knabb’s direct manipulation of the Situationist texts and by what he left out of his anthology, only the Debordist wing of the Situationist International (the analytical tendency) has been available for examination by the English-speaking world. This pamphlet uses texts by Asger Jorn to explain the conflict between the Debordists and the Nashists (the ludic tendency), and inadvertently documents the formation of the Second Situationist International (a.k.a. the Bauhaus Situationists). SC

Publisher: Unpopular
Pamphlet: 48 pages