reseach behind this introduction springs from a week long continuous
through various archives in Copenhagen. Beginning as casual interest
in the Scandinavian branch of the
Divided We Stand
- An Outline of Scandinavian Situationism
"It is not the sky we mean, but the past a non existent wall" – Ron Silliman: Paradise (1984)
"If polyphonic orientation is wanted, the tones must be separated while at the same time they are interwoven" – Asger Jorn: Mind And Sense (1964)
Historiography is one thing when it is a history in the abstract that seeks to find origins and from these origins reassume the reproduction of those already outmoded social relations that, at the deepest level, always inveigle us towards intrepid discovery and the idealised wish to be someone other than who we are becoming to be. Another historiography can exist. It can be a drift in and out of archives; stealing in, taking out, photographing, noting, continuing in a bar or outside a station by the sausage wagon. You bump into it. Trip over the remnant of a bunker. Descend down a ladder opposite the barracks. It reanimates you as you slowly discover that the vista doesn't narrow to a vanishing point but that, once arrived at, the vista widens, can no longer contain the desire that made it so noticeable, and sets this desire to rove amidst detail, conjecture and imagined presences. So too, the researchers disappear in the loop of the roundtower, on the waves of Inderhavnen, in a practice of histogenesis (1). After checking the acoustics of a ruin they next sidle into the routed spaces of a backlit museum and rifle through a dark case of exile. No longer is Asger Jorn the star pupil of Fernand Leger, but one of many autodidacts who went to listen and discuss with Christian Christensen, the Danish anarcho-syndicalist. And Jorn has a brother too. His name is Nash as there can only be one by the name of Jorn. In the shadows – fogs obscure the many bridges – Nash, a poet, reinvents himself... but not quite as a Nashist. Somewhere nearby and already distancing himself towards a later rapprochement is J.V.Martin, an illustrator, a painter, a pyromaniac. At the so-called end of it all this latter tops the accounting list with Debord and the entire Italian section that goes by the name of Sanguinetti. So much for Pavan and Laugesen. So much for the Situationist Antinational of '74.
We must accept the standard Situationist historiography before we can read the hieroglyphs. We accept it because our friends wrote it and we know they wrote it so that it wouldn't have to become too well trod and, being thus well treaded, arise as a litany that incants itself as we pretend it is ourselves who are speaking and not the assemblage of which we are only a part. In other words we accept Cobra as Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam. These places cannot be denied. They do, for the time being at least, exist. And Jorn, existing too, was, like a good striker – here, there and everywhere, looking for an inverse geometry of angles. For him, and the others at Cobra, painting was already a realistic abstract-expressionism, a surplus of energies, but, coming with a consciousness of its own practice, coming at us with theoretical tangents that sought a reconciliation of passion and logic, it never quite revelled in the easy light of having its consciousness made for it. A 1949 a priori: "True realism, materialist realism, renouncing the idealist equation of subjectivity with individualism, as described by Marx, seeks the forms of reality that are 'common to the senses of all men'" (2). Pollock was an individualist in a world of masses. Jorn and the others already had subjectivities, intensities, in a world that had them too. Jorn always turned up. From CIA to SI via Alba and the International Movement For An Imaginist Bauhaus Jorn wove people together so that they could better break apart. He was at the founding conference of the SI in 1957. Barely six months later Debord, a guest in Copenhagen and brought to meet Christensen whilst meeting Nash, collaborates with Jorn and the two relaxedly knock-up Fin De Copenhagen as the London Psychogeographical Committee. With its iconic weather maps recurring against a backdrop of paint drips, demi-lines and newspaper fragments, this Fin De Copenhagen, already blunting pop art's impact and provoking thoughts of a potential topography, still seems to suggest the flexible fixity of a situated place as it is buffeted by meteorological currents no nation or government can control. So too, historians despair at the impending lack of finality and at the already tangible sense of obsfucation: an obsfucation that puts us, like the fogs that had us in the centre of nowhere, at both the hub and the periphery of a mutable culture, in the interland of contradiction. The two cover their tracks because to be tracked is to no longer be able to play these games of bad passion. Visibility does nothing for subversives – it beckons them to police cells and art bars that can only offer the conversation of screws, curators, dealers and journalists. But, on the same trip, visiting the Silkeborg Museum in Denmark, Debord dreams of building an archive for the Situationist International. So, already, at the very outset, before any documents or activities have been produced and enacted, with 'everything to invent', Debord, either with a sense of grandeur he feels sure he can live with or in calling on history to be his judge, has something tangible in mind. Is it, then, a case of what follows being done with half an eye on posterity? Is it here, on the steps of Silkeborg, where a Situationist ideology took hold and not in the convenient scapegoats who went by various names at various times: Spur, Nash, Garnault, Vaneigem. Posterity is transcendence... passion and logic unite in the interstices of the everyday.
To announce a presence something already present has to be revealed as too seamlessly enunciating the persistent social relations. At first the SI's targets gave rise to incisive critiques of cultural practices that had had their day, but wouldn't tire of that day. Jorn's playful demolition of Lettrist pretension, appearing over the two issues of Internationale Situationniste published in 1960 – Originality & Magnitude and Open Creation And Its Enemies – are not only eclectic expressions that fulfil Jorn's ethos of writing "to oppose any clear-cut schemes or directives about art" (3) they work on expanding a never finalised theory of situations towards an extemporised topology, towards situlogy. Not content with the role of pedagogue and preferring to treat theoretical matter as an expressionist material, Jorn drew the 'construction of situations' as a "transformative morphology of the unique". Breaking away from the neutralising equivalences of a topology based upon geometry, Jorn attempted to offer "an inverse geometry" that took account not solely of space, but of the transformative action of time. Key here was Jorn's guiding principle of "the creation of variabilities within a unity, and the search for unity among the variations" (4) with which he tried to dynamise topology and to overcome the self-atomisation of individualist artists through his constant support of groupings such as the SI. For Jorn value lay in variability, in the "morphology of time", that makes uniqueness a common quality. He saw the schematics of Isou and the Lettrists as a scientific practice of art that dissemblingly sought to extol individual genius, as an indication that the creative aspect of human life – the persevering with being as a morphing variability – was forever being seduced towards a functionalism that served capitalism – the preservation of being as an individualised unity. In the late 50s, then, this variability as a human value, the "unique of the identical form", had, for Jorn, a progressive revolutionary value that could be found in the Situationist International as it grew to include fledgling Italian and German Sections that were both instigated through contacts Jorn had made. The strongest of these contacts seems to have been that made with the Spur Group. Together they authored the first Spur Manifesto and proclaimed a new aim for artistic practice beyond commodification and non-committal contemplation: "Abstract painting has given us the commonplace of four-dimensional space. The painting of the future is polydimensional. Endless dimension awaits us". By the Third Situationist International Conference of 1959 Spur had become participants in the Situationist project. From 1960 they started to issue their own, largely graphic, journal and began to work even closer with other Scandinavian Situationists such as Staffan Larsson, Katarina Lindell and Jørgen Nash. Indeed it was Nash, the one time vice-chairman of the Aspekt Association – a grouping dedicated to politics and culture – who co-edited the second issue of the Spur magazine and who, together with Jacqueline de Jong and Danish artist Albert Mertz, collaborated on a Spur film – So Ein Ding [Such A Thing] – rumoured to have been orchestrated and urged upon its participants by Jorn. On this same trip to Munich in early 1961, a collectively authored tract, titled The Avant Garde Is Unacceptable, was printed and distributed as an intervention against a conference on modernism: "In this society, artists are expected to take over the role of the Court Fools of the past, expected to take payment for providing society with the delusion that there is a special kind of cultural freedom"(6). It was the status of this 'freedom' that would soon lead to a rift in the movement – a rift, each side of which maintained a presence in Scandinavia and a claim on the title Scandinavian Situationism. This same rift was straddled by Asger Jorn. He had perhaps, in Open Creation, already made reference to it when he suggested that there were two tendencies of situlogy – a ludic, playful, experimental tendency and an analytical, technical and scientific tendency. Rather than seeing these as mutually exclusive Jorn, ever hopeful for an interweaving, offered that situlogy could give a "decisive push to the two tendencies".
Can we speak of a rift, a clear cut secession? Does a cultural practice that is fluid, collaborative and rhizomatic lend itself to an historiographic segmentation? The finer details are always absent, their enigmas help form an epistemophilic drive that makes research a matter of group analysis, makes history a possible practice and makes life associational. So, the year 1962, the year of the schism between the artists and the politicos, the practitioners and the theorists, comes, on this trip through the archives, to be a little more blurred than we thought. It is this blurring of the edges that constitutes the dynamic field of homeomorphism, the variability within a unity where the unity is the accepted facts and the variability forms a chink in what we are led to believe. Not only have Nash and Jorn decided to form a Bauhaus Situationniste (BS) in 1960 (7), purchasing a farm in southern Sweden, but Debord, Strijbosch, Bernstein and J.V. Martin are to make an art exhibition in Odense in 1963. Either side of these events lies the case of Spur. With copies of their magazine impounded by the German police and the Spur members up in court on charges of producing 'degenerate art' it was declared by the 'Conseil Central' of the Situationist International that the Spur Group (i.e. the German Section) had been excluded. The variability within a unity that Jorn espoused as 'open creation' had been interpreted by the 'Conseil Central' as fractional activity. Charged with disregarding Situationist discipline – they failed to communicate fully with Nash and de Jong who were 'Conseil Central' appointees to their 'editorial board' – the Spur Group were condemned as using the SI in order to 'arrive' as artists. Perhaps more damning, and indicative of an inconsistent proprietorship over knowledge that would come to haunt the SI, the Spurists were accused of a "systematic misunderstanding of Situationist theses". That the 'Conseil Central' did not aim their declaration at Jorn and Nash when these two founded the BS at 'Drakabygget' in Southern Sweden, is perhaps indicative of an anomaly of Situationist discipline: its arbitrary wielding of a fledgling sovereignty. It seems equally haphazard when, in Jean Sellem's chronology, all the Spurists are to be found as members of the BS alongside Ansgar Elde, Jaqueline de Jong, Asger Jorn, Ambrosius Fjord (psued), J.V.Martin, Jørgen Nash and Hardy Strid. The exclusion of the German Section – who had made their Spur In Exile edition at Drakabygget – sparked-off an almost immediate protest in the form of the leaflet Danger! Do Not Lean Out signed by de Jong, Nash and Elde. In it these three say that they were prepared to criticise the Spur Group (presumably over the planned publication of all issues of their magazine by an Italian art publisher), but were led to protest against the action of the 'Conseil Central' – Guy Debord, Raoul Vaneigem, Atilla Kotanyi, Uwe Lausen – which they saw as a 'fait accompli'. A decision had already been arrived at by the four which the signatories indignantly point out was itself an indication of 'fractionalist' activity: "An organisation whose essential decisions are not based on the principle of debate is totalitarian and does not agree with our rules of collaboration... To call in comrades from other countries only to hand out a printed leaflet is not a very positive method. It can be explained only as an outcome of the non-activity policy of those four members" (8). This leaflet was met with a further proclamation from the SI – calling itself the 1'Internationale Situationniste – that first excludes all 'Nashists' and then goes on to give the "supreme authority" to represent the Scandinavian section of 1'IS to J.V.Martin. The latter, a painter, who had worked with Jørgen Nash in the Aspekt Association, who illustrated an Editions Internationale Situationniste book of poems by Nash in 1961, and had exhibited with Hardy Strid, also wrote a press release concerning the ideological conflicts with the Drakabygget group. With the exclusion of Strid, who was secretary for the Scandinavian section for barely a month, all 'Nashists' had been excluded from 1'IS by the Sixth SI Conference in Antwerp, leaving J.V.Martin in a somewhat isolated position in Randers, Northern Denmark. It was Martin who proposed that the term Nashism be adopted by the 1'IS: "Principally known for his attempt to betray the revolutionary movement and theory of that time, Nash's name was detourned by that movement as a generic term applicable to all traitors in struggles against the dominant cultural and social conditions"(9). This power to allot 'supreme authority' and name 'traitors' is another indicator of the sovereignty that 1'IS took upon itself. Maybe it was calculated to irrevocably alienate Nash from any claim to the Situationist 'title' and similarly to ward-off any pretenders to the sovereign mantle: several months before this round of exclusions, in the autumn of 1961, a magazine called Nye Linjer [New Lines] had appeared in Copenhagen. Situationist ideas were in other heads.
It is unlikely that the 'Conseil Central' would have been too dismayed at the accusations of their being dictatorial. Back at the London (1960) and Goteborg (1961) Conferences the debates were cast as being between the artists and the politicos. This led to a moment when the German section had to leave the room. Heinrad Prem, a member of Spur, had read a position-paper that cast doubt over the revolutionary efficacy of that very proletariat that was coming to be the focal point for the 1'IS ever since it had made contact with the French Socialisme ou Barbarie group. Prem instantly withdrew the declaration in favour of unity. At Goteborg the debates gave rise to a ruling on 'antisituationist' art presented by Kotanyi – a move intended to preempt the use of the term 'situationist' as a mark of avant-garde value. Jørgen Nash is reported as begrudgingly accepting this but, in a slip of the pen, the note taker cannot hide his own disgruntlement with Nash and describes how "only Nash objects, his spite and indignation having become sharper and sharper throughout the whole debate, to the point of uncontrolled rage" (10). Warming up for the 'supercession of art' – according to Vaneigem, the actualisation of art and philosophy in individual lived experience – the Spur and BS exclusions are linked to those differences of opinion over the revolutionary efficacy of creativity and the status of artistic 'freedom'. Jorn's 'unity of diversity' and the formation of new counter-values based upon the surplus energies of creativity was, if it ever had any practical credence within the 'Conseil Central', being outmanoeuvred by the figure of the revolutionary proletarian as the pivotal agent of an unambiguous transformative creativity. For Debord et al a difference of 'opinion' over such matters was untenable to the degree that their coming adherence to Marx's presentation of the material reality of class took matters beyond opinion. The 1'IS, then, was coming to see the artists in their midst as the symbols of an ambiguous, readily assimilable, practice that they fetishized in inverse relation to their being blind to the ambiguities of class – a blindness that eventually impeded their ability to theorise the recomposition of this class. However, could it also have been that the practice of art was seen as being too close to the question of the spectacle that the 1'IS was on the threshold of theorising? The problem with this concept, a reduction of capitalist social relations to those 'mediated by images', cast its shadow over these exclusions as, perhaps, the appearance of an intransigence informing the self-image of the 1'IS. Accusations of 'dictatorial' behaviour, then, were nothing when set beside the need to theorise the spectacle, and thus replace artistic ambiguity with a written coherence that enabled the 1'IS to project an unassimilable self-image as the proof of a pure and eminent revolutionary intent, a sovereign exemplarity. This is further compounded when we recall the plan to set up a Situationist archive in Silkeborg (extensively diagramed by Debord) (10a). Knowing that many of their other concepts were indistinguishable from the diverse collaborations that they had embarked upon, the theory of the spectacle was, and has since become, the 1'IS's most renowned, if flawed, contribution to revolutionary theory. To be propounding such a theory whilst collaborating with visual artists could have been seen to be incoherent in terms of a projected practice and hence become a major dent to the collective ego and its bid for an exemplary posterity: "The ambiguity of all revolutionary art lies in the fact that the revolutionary aspect of any particular spectacle is always contradicted and offset by the reactionary element in all spectacles" (11). In many ways the conflicts with Spur and the BS were to some degree encouraged and used by the 1'IS to prune itself of contradictions that may have eventually led to a deepening of the theory of the spectacle, a politicisation of the practice of art and a productive extension of its notion of class. As with the Nashism definition, the tone of the pronouncements are such that any split would be irrevocable. The problem of creativity – the right to productive socialisation as a counter value – was not resolved, it was polarised. On the one hand there was the revolutionary creativity of the proletarian movement which was coming to be expressed by the 1'IS as theory, and on the other hand the specialised creativity of artists expressed as spontaneous action. On either side of this reified divide both currents of Scandinavian Situationism would eventually run into problems that orbited the dualism of politics and culture that the incipient movement had once brought centre stage as the dialectical struggle of 'everyday life'. Aiming for a 'dual power in culture', as the SI had professed in 1960 and which it maintained, through the words of Vaneigem in 1965, as the building of a 'parallel society', would have politicised culture by taking full cognizance of the reproductive function of culture, of the need for new modes of relationship and the deprofessionalisation of politics and art as 'separate' activities – all facets of the the revolution of everyday life that the 1'IS had highlighted through the 'construction of situations' and had pursued, not untroubledly, through the writings of Raoul Vaneigem. Instead the 1'IS was somehow intent on artificially 'leaving' this cultural terrain whilst it sought an everyday of 'real proletarianized life' and 'authentic revolutionary praxis'. Aims fitting to the backglance of posterity, but ones that would come to form a transcendent, if not metaphysical, vanishing point that belittled their own experiences and, in not pursuing the contradictions thus far raised, hindered their practice.
The Nashist 'faction' based around Drakabygget did not take their exclusion lying down. Following upon the Danger! leaflet, de Jong produced a text entitled Critic On The Political Practice Of Detournement. This handwritten, labyrinthine graphic text, complete with loops, circles, clumps and spirals of writing, sought to clarify the events up to the exclusion of the Nashists and offer some further ideas as to why these exclusions took place. Neither referencing nor developing the arguments of the previous SI conferences perhaps impedes this deliberately hard-to-follow, excursive text, but de Jong ironically claim that the practice of detournement had led to a legitimate protest against the 'Conseil Central' being misrepresented as an attack on the SI as a movement. De Jong claim that facts had been falsified, elements of the struggle omitted – especially her own suspicions about the Spur Group – and that this amounted to the excludees being victims of a Situationist coup. What is clear is that de Jong considered that a lack of organisational clarity had led to areas where a 'sovereign power' had been wielded: "the terms and theories of the IS were not to be understood by everyone in an absolutely similar way" (12). One element of her protest – that anyone could be a situationist, a member of a situationist movement – is one that runs through all later pronouncements and is one that, informed by the disagreements highlighted at previous conferences, the 1'IS was coming to rhetoricise around whilst actively refuting. De Jong touches on this: "The IS has to be considered either as an avant-garde school which has already produced a series of first class artists... or as an anti-organisation based upon a new ideology which is situationist and which has not yet found in details its clear formulations in the fields of science, technique and art". Whether or not this was a further incitement for Debord to pen the Society Of The Spectacle it is clear that the l'IS was, at this stage, an anti-organisation – a 'conspiracy of equals' that had announced the return of the 'most total revolutionary programme'. It was proud of this. However, problems around its organisation, especially the very intersubjective relationships proper to 'everyday life' and inimical to its professed confrontation with alienated communication, dogged it right up until the end. In 1962, the outrage expressed by de Jong that such a group could be so undemocratic as to seek to eject a 'majority' of its own members, could well be indicative that as an organisation of affinities the 1'IS was self-selecting. The trumpeted exclusions are also indicative of its bid for 'sovereign power' – a political act that announces its own state of exception, its own rules ('creating the sphere of its own reference'), and in so doing disregards any notion of a binding 'contract' being at the origin of its power (13).The 1'IS clearly, then, was in the throes of re-orientating itself away from cultural revolution towards a political revolution that it saw as far more historically grounded in social creativity i.e. with culture not yet as developed as a productive force the 1'IS saw the proletarian movement as the locus of a productive, constituting power. This group no longer wanted to be heir to the Dada and Surrealist movement, but to the First International of Marx and Engels and thus to the potential 'sovereign power' of the working class as auto-invested in workers councils. What remained, then, was, at least in the years after 1962, a conflict over the right to develop the direction of concepts and practices that had been developed collectively. Such conflicts can go some way to accounting for the vehemence around the exclusion of Nash – not to be repeated as venomously until the resignation of Vaneigem – in that the very exuberant vehemence dished-out seeks to nullify the threat posed by the areas of concern represented by the excludee; areas of concern – the everyday – that remained close to the 1'IS but, being vested in the foibles of individuals rather than the group, being unconscious loose-ends, dim recollections of a written ethos, are a threat in terms of their highlighting the limitations of the organisation and in pressurising the idealised coherence of the self-image as it comes to be increasingly crafted through a posteriorising theoretical discourse. The exclusion of the Nashists sorely impedes the 'guidelines' of the SI as they were expressed in an unsigned piece from 1961 called Instructions For Taking Up Arms: "The greatest difficulty confronting groups that seek to create a new type of revolutionary organisation is that of establishing new types of human relationships within the organisation itself... Unless this is accomplished, by methods yet to be experimented with, we will never be able to escape from specialised politics" (14). The 1'IS could only function effectively as an anti-organisation, a non-contracted grouping, if a 'new type of intersubjective relationship' had been encouraged and practiced. The exclusions, as an exercise of 'sovereign power', not only hindered this, but, when also cast as "the only weapon of any group based on the complete freedom of individuals" (15) compounded it further.
In a Declaration from Drakabygget many of those associated with the Nashist tendency declared themselves to be a 2nd Situationist International (16). This curious Declaration, which was earmarked for revision and which bears similarities to Jorn's situationist texts, attempts to make sense of the divisions that had occurred between themselves and the 1'IS. Drawing an analogy between the First International and the Second 'social democratic' International, the signatories clearly state that their aim is one of social democratic reform. This is further problematised by their claim that such an aim is in line with Scandinavian characteristics and that this clash of cultures – a matter of two culturally determined different points of view – had led to the inability of the two groups to work with one another. Taking a swipe at French enlightenment rationality the 'Parisian' point of view is depicted as "purely a matter of position... the Scandinavian outlook is completely different. It is based on movement and mobility". One wonders whether the issue of national characteristics is a red herring, an easy capitulation to cultural determinism, a matter of received ideas standing in the stead of different notions about praxis and enunciation for, between the lines, the split seems to be being rendered as a conflict between a conceptual and an expressionist approach, or, to echo Jorn's two tendencies of situlogy, a conflict between the ludic and the analytical: "The Franco-Belgian Situationists base themselves on the same principles as Pascal, Descartes... action precedes emotion. Emotion is a primary non-reflective intelligence: passionate thought/thinking passion". The issue seems to be one in which the signatories are objecting to a use of theory that they relate to as a blueprint for action that 'dictates' practice. As theoreticians the 1'IS would have probably countered that they relate to theoretical knowledge as a tool that highlights where best and how best to intervene against capitalism. The Declaration adds, again echoing Jorn's contention that, in situlogy, the ludic precedes the analytical: "We do not always distinguish between theory and practice. We intend to produce our theories after the event....The French work exactly the other way round. They want everything straight before they start and everybody has to line up correctly". Beyond the subtle obfuscations of regional characteristics the arguments, which will later be retrospectively cast as one between anarchists and authoritarian socialists, have, at the outset, a vague Nietzschean ring to them: a philosophising theory is only creative of prevaricating value judgments, the combat against culture must needsbe install a culture of affects, a semiotic of the emotions, that "removes antitheses from things after comprehending that we have projected them there" (17). As with the reified divide between culture and politics, this division between theory and practice, concept and expression, passion and logic, is similarly beset by misleading problems that, in line with capitalist social relations, have the effect of disrupting new means of socialisation and of hindering productive co-operation. Human productive values are hived-off, separated out into 'spheres' and set against each other exactly as they are under capitalist relations of production. This may, in part, explain why both Situationist currents were, at one time or another, attracted to the idea of taking over Unesco under the auspices of the Mutant programme developed by Debord and Jorn. Is it at such an international level that these divisions between and within protagonists are unconsciously desired to be surpassed – the unity that both currents sought, is, symbolically at least, projected into the entity of a unitary Unesco which becomes the group-fantasy of the whole person, the fantasy of omnipotent sovereignty, the fantasy of revolution by other means? (18). Yet the signatories of the 1962 Declaration were astute in pointing to the Achilles heel of the 1'IS, a practical weakness that was candidly admitted in an internal document written in 1966 wherein Debord, after stating that the practical activity of the situationists is poor goes on to offer that the communication of the theory of the 1'IS is "its principal practical link" (19). Along with the absurd-sounding hope to develop a 'theory of dialogue' (which should be read alongside Vaneigem's "The erotic is pleasure in search of coherence"!) this aspect of the 1'IS has an almost Althusserian ring to it: the production of texts, the development of a theory, becomes a practice in itself and not something developed as a praxis of 'everyday life'. The 1'IS met the problem of practice with the production of theoretical texts that may or may not have lent it posterity, but numbed its contemporaneous activity by meretriciously excluding a wider participation and attracting only those who sought the 'theoretical accord' that ostentatiously bound the group. It is as if, after the Nashist exclusions, it was not only that a practice of art, seen as individualistic and ambiguous, was collapsed into an authorial production that was, when push came to shove, similarly judged as individualistic and ambiguous, but that the whole issue of practice was somehow put into limbo, captured in an idealisation of consciousness, and delayed until such a time as the 1'IS could connect-up with the historic current of a revolutionary workers movement. Coherence, as it comes to establish orthodoxy, may look good in the archive but, preempting communication, the need for others, the practice of otherness, it is not the best means of securing participation, and encouraging new modes of relationship.
Like Instructions For Taking Up Arms, the Situationist Manifesto of 1960 seems to have been a text which dissident Situationists took to be a definitive statement of Situationist ideas. Alexander Trocchi used it as the basis for one of the texts of the Sigma Portfolio and the BS also took its ethos of collective participation to the letter: "Against the spectacle, the realised situationist culture introduces total participation" (20). It is this combination of participation, creativity and 'the everyday' that the BS took to be the guiding ethos of its activity and in many ways, by making use of Situationist theory as the 1'IS had urged, it drew out a sting of proprietorship from the latter which was not levelled at Alexander Trocchi and the 'loose cultural venture' that was Project Sigma. Indeed, whereas the latter met with a muted approval, the BS was lambasted at every opportunity through the figurehead of Jørgen Nash. By coining the term Nashism rather than being critical of the BS as a whole, the 1'IS maintained its link to a figure it had banished by means of an exercise of a 'relation of ban' that ratified its 'sovereign power'. Furthermore, Nash became almost sacred, a taboo figure that allowed the 1'IS to leave unabreacted its own unconscious aprorias – those potentially useful contradictions that were beset by collective myopia – and enabled it to thus savour its own 'sovereign power' – a power that elevated the individual situationist into an 'exceptional' case. The left-communist Jean Barrot maintained as much when, talking of the exclusions, he says that "one is obliged to see in this behaviour the sign of a mystified coming-to-consciousness of the group's impasse, and of a magical way of saving it" (21). The 'magic' comes in the exercise of a 'state of exception' operated by all sovereign powers, an exception that establishes its own arbitrary law to which no one has recourse. Thus, Nash is lambasted and Trocchi is, if not lauded, then at least 'legally' approved. It was not as if Trocchi shared the 1'IS's hopes for a revolutionary proletariat and was, as a result, spared, as both Sigma and the BS were far more interested in taking up 'the dual power in culture' aspect of the situationist project, of working with the productive activity that marked their 'everyday life' rather than being marked-out by their 'separation' from culture. Rather than the growing sense that the 1'IS was communicating with an 'outside', that culture was something it consented to act in, Trocchi perhaps articulated something of the drive of the BS when he offered that Sigma intended to be: "a kind of shadow reality of the future existing side by side with the present 'establishment' and the process [being] one of general in(ex)filtration"(22). Not being inhibited by history nor being off-put by the praxis of artistic activity meant that the issue of a practice-in-waiting that dogged the 1'IS was not one that concerned the BS. Instead it was not a matter of art being 'realised' and 'suppressed' (the magic formula of supercession), but of forging a collective project, a 'learning community', around the Drakabygget farm and making 'detournations' of urban life in Denmark and Sweden. So, within months of their being excluded the BS had produced two issues of the scrapbook-style journal Drakabygget, a book of poems by Gordon Fazakerley, had collaborated with Jacqueline de Jong's Situationist Times, issued multi-signed declarations to accompany their street actions and made three short films – Nothing New In West Germany, Stopforbud (featuring jazz pianist Bud Powell) and Locomotive. Thus the BS embarked upon sustained 'meta-categorical' activities that were to draw many participating people into their orbit. Their first collective art action – along with Hans-Peter Zimmer of Group Spur – was to exhibit as 'Seven Rebels' and to produce a Swedish version of the 1962 Declaration retitled as The Struggle of the Situcratic Society. With the arrival to the group of jazz musician and art critic Jens Jørgen Thorsen, whose Co-Ritus manifesto of 1961, formed the basis of another sub-group, BS activities eventually extended into including a variant of the street performance that they had experimented with in the 'Seven Rebels' show when, with Hans Peter Zimmer as 'Christ', the group led a procession through the streets of Odense. The first Co-Ritus exhibition is noteworthy in terms of its interpretation of participation. Jean Sellem: "The exhibition was remarkable in that when it opened the walls were completely bare. On the floor... there were piles of materials – paint, pencil, glue, wood, nails and paper – which could be used for the construction of collages" (23). This exhibition at the Galerie Jensen in Copenhagen set the tone for both Co-Ritus and BS activities. Consisting of a group-constructed work whose assembly was accompanied by musicians, the resultant collage, as much the work of visitors as 'showing' artists, was cut-up and its separate parts taken away by all the participants. Arising from this Nash and Thorsen together with Dieter Kunzelmann of Group Spur, were encouraged by local residents to do something with a large grey fence that surrounded a development site owned by Gutenberg House publishers. The three took this as a chance to demonstrate in "favour of artists taking over the town centre as field of activity" and succeded in painting slogans and murals on the fence only to be arrested and fined for their endeavours. Nash and Thorsen in an interview given to Aspekt in 1963 spoke of their take on the "situationist idea" being "based on utilisation of art and the forces of creativity within art being used directly in the social environment" (24). Other actions that blurred the line between peformance art and politicised demonstration were to follow. By the time of the publication of the fourth issue of Situationist Times in 1963, the BS together with Jacqueline de Jong and all four members of Group Spur had collaborated on the construction of a labyrinth for the Facett 63 show at Malmo's Radhushall. Only given a wall space of five meters squared to work in, Jean Sellem recounts how "Thorsen.. came upon the idea of increasing the available space by constructing a spiral labyrinth on the floor area of the exhibition room through which the visitors could wander...". Another manifesto, entitled The Situationists From Drakabygget, The Spiral Labyrinth And The Situationist International, accompanied their construction and provided another opportunity to lampoon the 1'IS: "The first Situationniste International was a lamb-like pious group that never pursued anything more than theoretical discussions... It is true that the Drakabygget group was the most radical in the sense that they wanted to realise what the others only talked about" (25). The BS, then, had little need of backing from the 1'IS. They developed Jorn's 'situlogy' by referring to Kierkegaard's philosophy of situations and, like Trocchi, sought to make use of the 'construction of situations' as a means to catalyse a change in social relations, to experiment with 'ways of behaving' and of being together. For the BS this took their combative art practice along the vector of direct action in the streets. In 1965 they formed part of a committee that organised a Demonstration For The Freedom Of Expression in Copenhagen that brought upwards of three thousand into the streets. Playing with a Danish law that forbade the performing of music in public spaces, an illegal festival, a 'detournation', took place at Stroget in Central Copenhagen. Whether this was an indication of the most shopworn forms of artistic production, as the 1'IS had suggested of the activities of the BS, is debatable as the BS never claimed their activities as 'art'. For them their actions of 'communicative urbanism' were part of a Situationistic movement, a collective unity that didn't loose its variety.
In comparison to the 1'IS's paralysing concern to 'constitute a global critical theory', the BS were resolute cultural revolutionaries that prided themselves on being 'active' rather than 'contemplative', on being inclusive rather than exclusive. They, too, disparagingly mocked the 'happening' and its spectacular development of a renewed objectal focus for art, seeking instead to transform creativity from its traditional formalisation of everyday life into an experiment in social relations. Jørgen Nash, looking back at these activities in 1964, updated the 1962 Declaration to state that "according to Scandinavian situationist philosophy action is the result of emotion and arises out of emotion" (26). For the BS the organisational strictures of the 1'IS were seen as too disciplinarian, as placing a restriction upon who it was possible to collaborate with, and thus restricting the terrain of possible activity. Action for them could not be preplanned as, in the process of planning, the original emotion, the energy of the thought could be lost, and with it the energy that could be vital to attracting participation was frittered away. Against this incipient anarchism, the discriminating tendency of an 'idealised consciousness' with its dream of sovereign coherence was seen as finding its apotheosis in "an adherence to old-fashioned, classical and ultra-rigid patterns of organisation" (27). Despite its avowed aim to 'create a new type of revolutionary organisation' the 1'IS was practicing, according to the BS, like any other orthodox political grouping. This resonates with the way that a sovereign power was incarnated within the 1'IS as an organisation. It was, in its own eyes, positively creating the sphere of its own reference, defining itself through the exclusions, and yet its sovereign power could not operate effectively (and operated dictatorially for the BS) because, being reliant on the 'bare life' – the everyday productive co-operation – of the working class, the 1'IS was disabled from putting this power into practice and came instead to instaurate politics within the group as a separate activity. This is not to infer that the BS, as cultural revolutionaries, had tackled these issues and surmounted them. Whilst the BS could, from their 'collective centre' at Drakabygget, found a "freely organized movement" based upon "voluntary associations of autonomous work groups" (28) and adopt an ethos of productive co-operation, their having anarchistically demonised politics, and thus the scope for any renewal of politics; their having shunned the organisational issue, meant that the BS would soon be left with an inverse autonomy to that of the 1'IS – to be a little too symmetrical it could be said that the BS had plenty of fully sociable 'bare life', but little grasp on a potential subversive use of sovereign power; be it that around its own institution at Drakabygget or that of the working class. For the BS, operating in a social democracy of consensus, there was no creative, militant lessons to be learned from its working class: "The labour movement was once considered to be the salt of the earth. Today it is more like a milch cow whose udders are being pumped in an effort to get more and more material benefits at the expense of the mind" (29). As with Alexander Trocchi and Project Sigma, the BS, holding dear to the ludic trajectory of 'situlogy', rejected work and the contradictions of wage-labour outright and instead negotiated the risk of artistic assimilation, confident that artists could become catalysts, the pivotal agents of social change. However, their playful and spontaneous approach, whilst leading to actions, demonstrations and occupations, neglected any thought of strategy or tactics. Like the counter-culture it was a foreecho of, the BS was inclined towards hitting out at the symbols of capitalistic society – 'atom bombs, popes and politicians' – without indicting capitalist social relations, and thus left these very real and interconnected forms of power to continue unperturbed in a solely symbolic existence separated from the everyday. One participant, Bjorn Rosendahl, offered that "The weakness of the Bauhaus Situationist was that all the fresh actions revealing society to itself were never properly followed up. Instead the actions came in cascades. It was bracing... but all that untamed power was never used in full" (30). This may be the danger of Nash's totally emotional explanation for action. With passion disconnected from logic, instinct can become indistinguishable from a drive and expressionism can become undifferentiable from exhibitionism. So, neither the 'anti-organisation' of the 1'IS, nor the 'avant-garde school' of the Drakabygget group got any nearer to the 'semiotic of the impulses', the 'culture of affects', that was, as a revolution of 'everyday life', a reconciliation of passion and logic, desired by both: "A mode of thought that would restrict behaviour, or a mode of behaviour that would restrict thought – both comply with an extremely useful automatism: they ensure security" (31). Security does not imply risk, it implies the preservation of being, the continuation of orthodox social relations. Both the BS and the 1'IS remained affixed to the means of expression they felt most comfortable with.
One facet of the conflict between the two competing groups was that which centred around the differences between two European cultures. It is into this area that Asger Jorn returns. Having resigned from the 1'IS in 1961 whilst still funding it, Jorn, who also funded de Jong, Nash and Elde's Danger Do Not Lean Out! leaflet, threw his support behind the BS and not only made polemical contributions to the first issues of the Drakabygget magazine but is rumoured to have funded this magazine as well. However, tensions are reported to have arisen between Jorn and the BS, particularly a conflict centred around disagreements he had with Thorsen's notions of art as a 'communicative action' as exemplified by the Co-Ritus interventions. Not isolating himself completely from the Situationist movement – he made contributions to the fifth issue of the Situationist Times – Jorn founded a Scandinavian Institute for Comparative Vandalism (32). Through this Institute, which was intended to give his maverick views of art practice an institutional legitimacy, Jorn sought to negotiate a passage between the academic practice of art history and his interest in Nordic folk art. He had the intention of publishing an ambitious project drawing together decades of investigation into a millenia-long Nordic presence in European culture. Taking its title from the discovery of 'graffitied' elements on Norman churches – which Jorn was convinced displayed the presence of a Nordic craftsmen – the Institute was concerned with redressing the balance of a Greco-Roman hegemony over European culture. In many ways the work of the Institute was responding to a perceived lack of cultural confidence that Scandinavians felt in relation to the rest of Europe – an inferiority that was once more played out in the debacle of the 1962 exclusions. With Jorn's project in mind we can see how his work perhaps influenced the BS when they spoke of the cultural incompatibilities between themselves and 'Paris'. The 1'IS would not have given much credence to this as for them such cultural differences were 'resolved' by the dialectic of class struggle: the working classes have no country. However, this not only begs the question of a working class culture, a culture of productive co-operation that can get beyond a capitalistic definition of value and aesthetics, it highlights how the variabilities of inter-subjective differences within the Situationist movement were submerged beneath the dream of theoretical coherence for the 1'IS and recollapsed onto the cultural determinism of regionalism for the BS. As a visual artist Jorn offered an avenue away from this impasse by using the very ambiguities of a visual semiotic that he felt could both override and draw attention to the overlooked ambiguities and unsuspected authoritarianisms of language. Jorn's project, with its use of a 'comparative' method of art history that gave greater weight to the un-captioned juxtaposition of images from different places and times, was weighted in favour of visual essays rather than a use of images that illustrated theoretical texts. It was thought that this method was best suited to reveal the differences, the variabilities within similar forms and motifs (33). While it is undoubtedly a method that is a lot more 'open' than a directly textual approach in that the latter guides us towards the seduction of interpretation and resolutions, the 'comparative' method allowed Jorn not only to cross the disciplinary boundaries between art history and archeology, it led him beyond strictly national boundaries and beyond the abyss of aesthetics that his former comrades of the 1'IS were scared of falling into. In some ways Jorn was developing a visual theory of 'living art', expanding the boundaries of creativity beyond the aesthetic towards an everyday use value for creativity, one in which form, rather than being necessarily aesthetic and necessarily opposed to 'lived experience' – the ambiguity of an art practice that had to be superceded for the 1'IS – was simply the carrier for the expression of variabilities, a unity of variables. Thus for Jorn, not only was it that the "most commonplace, obvious and traditional art is most valuable, because it is the common property of the largest number of people over the longest span of time", it was also a matter of these variabilities running seamlessly through the texture of 'everyday life': "what gives the individual a social value is their variability of behaviour in relation to other people" (34). Irrespective of aesthetic legitimacy, then, folk art or 'living art' with all its intimate banalities was, for Jorn and the BS, an expression of variability and difference, a basic communicative need, a matter of relational energies that could strengthen the bond of association to the detriment of a sovereign individualism. The fact that Jorn's work both undermined the smooth categorisation of art history and the notion of artistic production as something entirely self-reliant and original, rather than as that which "consists of some portion of originality combined with traditional elements", may have found its advocates with those members of the BS that, in the 1962 Declaration, stressed the 'tradition-directed' aspect of their activity. Their work was not avant-gardist in the sense of its being about new forms, but in the way that it sought to fill these forms with its own variabilities. In this way, inspired by Jorn, the BS understood Situationism to be a movement within which any creative person could participate – for them anyone who tries to live is an artist. Unfortunately, these more general conclusions were offset by the framework of 'Nordic' culture that Jorn was fascinated by and which the BS, initially at least, also supported. It is reported by Lars Morrell that long term collaborants Group Spur grew wary of the 'Nordic centrism' of the 1962 Declaration and distanced themselves from the more all embracing idea of a 2'IS. This had the effect of weakening any chances for such a 2'IS to gain any momentum outside of Scandinavia until the persistence of its activities and its ethos of open participation gave impetus to a revivified situationistic movement that made Drakabygget an important node in the diffuse network of an international counter-culture.
The 1962 exclusions had led to a state of affairs wherein the claim of the 1'IS to be an international organisation was gravely weakened. The fourteen exclusions in two months had just about removed all non-French speaking participants from the project and all but decimated the German and Scandinavian sections. These latter survived in the guise of Uwe Lausen in Germany and J.V. Martin in Denmark. Whereas the former poet Lausen would himself be excluded in 1965, Martin remained a member right up until 1972 when, with only Debord and Sanguinetti left, he presided over an anthology of SI texts entitled Der Er Liv Efter Fodslen [There Is Life After Birth]. With its being offered that the communication of its theory was the principal practice of the 1'IS it perhaps became a matter of no little import that Martin edited three issues of Situationistisk Revolution between 1962 and 1970. With the exception of the one issue of Der Deutsche Gedanke [The German Thought] which was published in 1963 there was no other foreign language journal published by the 1'IS until the Italian and American Sections published theirs in 1969. In many ways this amounted to a far from negligible role for the Scandinavian Section that is reflected in the 'Situationnistes Chronologie' entries for the mid period of the 1'IS. Beginning with a press release over the exclusion of the Nashists, Martin had by November of 1962 presided over the first issue of Situationistisk Revolution and arranged a conference at the University of Aarhus. In many ways these events were necessary for the 1'IS in order to counter what they saw as a Nashist recuperation of situationist ideas. To this end the first issue of Situationistisk Revolution made public the events around the exclusion of the Nashists, reissuing the proclamation from March 1962, and including two texts by J.V. Martin that polemicised around these areas – Antipolitical Activities and In Front Of The Wall Of A Modern History Of Culture. Other key texts from the early years of the 1'IS were also made available through translation into Danish. These included Manifesto, The Situationist Frontier, Instructions For Taking Up Arms, Preliminary Problems In The Construction Of Situations, Debord's Theses on Cultural Revolution and his Critique Of Urban Geography. If any theme could be gleaned from this collection of SI texts then a predominant one, running throughout many of them, is, the 'construction of situations'. This means of politicising the everyday, of instaurating a "real and direct communication" (35) that could have lent itself to an exploration of intersubjectivity and a viable anti-organisational practice is, in never having been embraced in all its intimate banality, and in being enticed down the theoretical avenue of 'unitary urbanism', the one Situationist concept that lends itself to reconception and wider practice (Jens Jørgen Thorsen's 'communicative urbanism' and his consistent exploration of the 'situation' as an experiment in social relations was one such reconception). However, for the 1'IS, whose Theory Of The Derive has the effect of delimiting rather than expanding a common activity, the 'construction of situations' was perhaps a too ambiguous practice as the 1'IS were already wary of the 'situation' being reconceived as the 'happening'. It may be that this co-option of the 'situation' to the spectacle, the mediation of what was intended to be an unmediatable practice of communication, soon led the 1'IS towards taking a more stringent and proprietorial line on the 'construction of situations', closing it down until it became a specialised activity: "... the situation defined by the SI can be constructed only on a foundation of material and spiritual richness. This amounts to saying that the first ventures in constructing situations must be the work/play of the revolutionary avant-garde; people who are resigned in one way or another respect to political passivity, to metaphysical despair, and even being subjected to an artistic pure absence of creativity, are incapable of participating in them..." (36). The 1'IS, presumably a collection of coherently formed individualities, saw itself as the avant-garde in relation to both artistic practice and politics. Its conflict with the Nashists was, within a year, followed up by a conflict with Dutch 'Stalinist surrealists' and with an ongoing polemic against Henri Lefebvre and the left journal Arguments. Whether these polemical conflicts were considered 'situations' or not is perhaps difficult to tell, but their often expressed aim of avoiding the role of specialists is continually undermined by a proprietorship of ideas that makes participation in the Situationist project dependent upon prior knowledge rather than on the potential becomings instaurated by praxis. Indeed, in kindly offering the 'situation' as the construction of 'micro societies', a self-institutional activity, Vaneigem too, quickly moved towards limiting its capabilities by adding the proviso that such 'societies' should be "maintained in a permanent state of practical readiness by means of strict theoretical discrimination" (37). That the first issue of Situationistisk Revolution also carried the small Anti-Public Relations text that requests, however jokingly, aspiring members to demonstrate their written theoretical abilities is not only a further indication of a self-appointed avant-garde role, but is another pointer towards the way that the 1'IS was coming more and more to equate revolutionary practice with the production of 'coherent' revolutionary texts. As they said themselves, their 'direction' was coming to be more concerned with the "theoretical organisation of contestation" (38). This idealisation of consciousness – seen in the charge of 'misunderstanding situationist texts' levelled at Spur and at the Nashists – and idealised to the point of transcendence in its claim to be 'coherent', became the sole basis upon which inter-subjective relations were carried out within the 1'IS. It thus not only hindered the 'construction of situations', but lead to a neutralising of the contradictions, the incoherencies and intimate banalities, of 'everyday life'. This had been raised by de Jong: "Misunderstandings and contradictions are not only of an extreme value, but in fact the basis of all art and creation, if not the source of all activity in general life" (39). In other words practice, the rapid alternation between activity and passivity, between passion and logic, reveals antagonisms that not only inform consciousness, but drive that consciousness to be best articulated as transformative action.
J.V. Martin and the Scandinavian section – which at best included only two other fully admitted members: Peter Laugesen in the mid sixties and Bengt Ericson in the late sixties – were, then, a crucial component of the 1'IS. Before the publication of the second issue of Situationistisk Revolution in 1968, which carried a large proportion of Situationist texts on the May Events as well as a republication of Debord's thesis on Cultural Revolution, the Scandinavian Section had provided the focal point for activities that did not always hinge around the production of written texts. The first of these was the Destruction Of RSG-6 show held in Odense in June 1963. When we bear in mind that the 1962 exclusions have been referred to as the 'break' with artists this show, based around the threat of thermonuclear war and presenting the scandalous findings of the 'Spies For Peace' group concerning the existence of a dozen Regional Seats of Government (nuclear bunkers) in England, is notable for its continuation of artistic practice and its return to conflict within the art institution. For the show Debord exhibited several of his hastily made Directives which consisted of slogans – such as 'realisation de la philosophie' – painted onto framed canvases. J.V.Martin exhibited a series of 'thermonuclear maps' – gaudily coloured outlines of regions of the world partially obliterated by dark scorch marks – and Michele Bernstein, subverting the tradition of battle paintings, made model tableaux titled after revolutionary defeats but renamed as victories (40). Whilst, with this show, it may have been useful for the 1'IS to combat the 'falsifications' of the BS in Scandinavia there is a lingering sense that the 1'IS required the RSG-6 to draw a conclusion to its critique of art practice by presenting a 'critical art' tied into the findings of the 'Spies For Peace' group. It wanted somehow to resolve the ambiguities that it had noted in an article commenting on the Spur/Nashist debacle: "It seems to us that Nashism is an expression of an objective tendency resulting from the SI's ambiguous and risky policy of consenting to act in culture while being against the entire present organisation of this culture and even against all culture as a separate sphere (But even the most intransigent oppositional attitude cannot escape such ambiguity and risk, since it is still necessarily has to coexist with the present order)" (41). How can one 'act in culture' and be against 'all culture as a separate sphere' unless one has transcended culture idealistically? It is precisely this ambiguity and risk, the antagonisms of the 'everyday', that the 1'IS wanted to escape from and in so doing somehow leave behind a cultural practice that they saw as an 'alibi for alienation', an easily assimilatable freedom. Its pursuit of theory – an apt repository for an idealised consciousness – was seen as the means through which ambiguity and risk could be overcome and the organisation's idealised self-image ensured; a self-image nurtured by the pursuit of a written coherence. However, was it not that the 1'IS, in rejecting cultural activity, was in danger of leaving behind the very 'everyday' terrain that could keep practice alive for it, that would make the accord between its members more than just a theoretical one? In the 1960 text co-authored with Canjuers, Debord had written that "this sphere reserved for creative activity is the only one in which the question of what we do with life and the question of communication are posed practically" (42). In many ways the 1'IS was torn between a take on creativity that pitted the practice of art against the constituting creativity of the working class. The two, already synthesised as the productive co-operation of labour power, were kept more or less separate by the 1'IS who, in a text accompanying the RSG-6 show, preferred to talk of the 'supercession' of both art and revolutionary politics. The problem with such 'supercession' was that in becoming programmatic, in transcending social relations, it placed practice in the shadow of posterity and made participation almost impossible. With its call for the 'supercession' of art and the surpassing of existing revolutionary groupings, the 1'IS was effectively calling for an end to its practical existence and announcing its idealism – an idealism increasingly exacerbated by its isolation. Having its practice determined for it by its 'theoretical coherence' meant that it was, by trusting in written language to be the sole semiotic of communication, becoming far more individualised than the BS which could later boast of a whole raft of people and groups passing through the 'collective centre' of Drakabygget – from Dutch Provos and the Mexican Situationist Group to 1'IS excludees such as Attila Kotanyi. For the 1'IS subjectivity, rather than being intensified by the variables of different situations and modulated by participation, was becoming preserved from the 'outside world', a vessel of 'practical readiness' that was not only in danger of making the 1'IS into an ivory tower, but running the risk of insulating itself from the very creative antagonism of the working class. The theory of the spectacle, with all its implications of an inescapable passivity, ensured not only that the audio-visual would be demonised to the benefit of written language, but made sure that revolution became a matter of knowledge rather than the creation of a new social relation, a culture of affects. If the working class were subject to pacification, then rather than the revolution being a matter of a "mode of being" as Jean Barrot points out, a matter of practical existence and struggle, an ontological revolt, it becomes a matter for a logic separated from passion, it becomes to be about a technocratic application of knowledge (methodology). Under the rubric of the spectacle the constituting power of the working class would have been negated by pacification and thus, then, the self-selected role of Situationists as exemplary leaders becomes necessary. To this end the 1'IS tended to theorise and agitate around consumption rather than production. For it consumption was to be subverted because that represented the 'creative' moment of proletarian life being inveigled towards passive leisure. The fact that the working class were being 'creative' in their production of social co-operation, their social relations, was something that bypassed the 1'IS. Not only did they idealise creativity in the figure of the 'artist', consigning it to specialisation, they came to see the creativity of the working classes as being endlessly postponed until the moment that they constituted workers councils – when they demonstrated a form of consciousness that the 1'IS was waiting to recognise. Even an idealised working class was not ideal enough. Thus Guy Debord's famous refrain that the workers should become dialecticians was as self-defeating to the 1'IS's project as abandoning the terrain of culture wherein the combat against leisure and pacification could have been fought. Even after the May events, the 1'IS, not dramatically expanding its numbers or range of contacts, began, in the absence of any practical experience that could inform its theoretical wanderings, to add another layer to its idealism. Rather than simply festishizing its 'coherent' theory (the mark of its revolutionary intent) it began to fetishize its own organisation and presented the two as being indicative of its revolutionary actuality. In other words the 1'IS – all the king's men – became sovereign over its own sovereign power.
Although, in 1964, Debord was to collect his film scripts from the late 50s and publish them as Contre Le Cinema through Jorn's Institute For Comparative Vandalism, the 1'IS's attempt to supercede art was compromised when it made one last foray into the 'sphere' of art with the Operation Playtime show. Once again this collective exhibition, unsurprisingly omitted from the Situationniste Chronologie, was organised in Denmark by J.V.Martin and included, once again, work by Martin and Bernstein (who had resigned in 1967) with the addition of five 'Nothing Boxes' by Rene Vienet. This time Martin exhibited a series entitled Golden Fleet – roughshod geopolitical paintings featuring coastlines, strategic arrows and toy battleships sprayed over with metallic paint. For the catalogue, released as a supplement to the second issue of Situationistisk Revolution (along with a translation of The Explosion Point Of Ideology In China as a separate issue), Martin wrote a montaged text called Ny-irrealisme – "The neo-realist lives in an unreal world but won't admit it. Long live the neo-irrealist who lives in an unrealistic society but admits it" – that expounded on the theory of detournement which had become, by this point, the last remaining weapon in the cultural armoury of the 1'IS and one that Debord was to heavy-handedly utilise in his film version of the Society Of The Spectacle. Indeed along with André Bertrand, J.V. Martin was a prime exponent of the practice of detourned comic strips, a practice that, with his 'comics erotico-politiques', saw Martin the subject of a law suit brought against him by the Danish section of the American-backed Moral Rearmament movement, principally for the clandestine distribution of these comics in Spain. Taking full advantage of the ensuing scandal which was reported in the Danish press, Martin issued a tract – In Namen Des Volkes – that dealt with his being charged with 'crimes against morality and good custom' by retorting that "indeed the Situationists were ... actively employed in the moral disarmament of society as we know it". The lawsuit was dropped, not least, the 1'IS astutely claimed, because the "suppression of publications injurious to the Francoist order by the social democratic authorities of a country officially opposed to Francoism was somewhat paradoxical" (43). Barely two months after this scandal of January 1965 J.V.Martin was an active hand in the organisation of an anti-NATO protest in Jutland after it had been decided by NATO commanders to station two units of German troops at barracks in Randers. Martin, together with local dockers, resistance veterans and students from the University of Aarhus, organised a committee to oppose the entry of the German troops into Randers. After attracting much press attention and drawing protesters from all over Denmark, the first and only column of German troops arrived at the barracks in the midst of violent clashes between the protesters and the Danish Army units that had converged in readiness. Although the unit finally entered the barracks the fallout of the conflict did not dissipate as two days later a firebomb exploded in a room of Martin's apartment in Randers. He was promptly arrested only to be released the next day as the police, changing their minds as is the wont of their sovereign power, moved their attention to another demonstrator called Kanstrup. A sequence of legal charades, which included Kanstrup having the terrorism charge reduced to possession of explosives, led the 1'IS to rightly finger Kanstrup as a provocateur and to take the 'Incident in Randers' as an indicator of a rising tide of social unrest which, quite generously for them, they also credited to the Dutch Provos. But, however efficacious these events were in drawing out the passive control of a celebrated Danish social democracy it is perhaps a little flighty of the 1'IS to suggest of the Randers Incident that "the SI's practice showed its excellence" therein. In an intriguing aside to their write-up of the events in Randers it is mentioned that many of the paintings that had been shown at the RSG-6 show had perished in the bomb blast. It was added that "the 'blanket' of art now finds itself burnt". In this flush of enthusiasm for political provocation – an intervention participated in by only one Situationist, J.V. Martin – the 1'IS seems, in conspicuously celebrating the loss of 'artworks', to be suggesting again that it had superceded art. However, whereas art was seen as a privileged concession, the creative activity of written theory was not, as far as the 1'IS was concerned, subject to the same ambiguities and contradictions. Raoul Vaneigem who could see the 'semantic realm' as a principle site of struggle, could also write: "ideology is the falsehood of language, radical theory the truth of language" (44). Armed with such 'truth' the 1'IS, coming to see itself as the 'unknown theory' of a movement growing in confidence and scope, contained a similar iconoclastic egotism to that of the artistic sphere it claimed it had superceded. It was the measure of truth, it was the incarnation of consciousness. In the text accompanying the RSG-6 show, The Situationists And The New Forms Of Action In Politics And Art, Guy Debord wrote "we acknowledge the perpetrators of these new radical gestures as being situationist, and are determined to support them and never disavow them, even if many among them are not yet fully aware of the coherence of today's revolutionary program, but are only moving in that general direction" (45). Like good avant-gardists ahead of the field the 1'IS, enthusiastic about the 'new' and their own 'newness' and seeking to be the intermediaries of the future, could not only dissemble about the social-relations (the 'relation of ban') from which they had sprung, but could offer their consciousness, an idealised consciousness resolved into writing, as a model consciousness that others should follow. One aspect of this tendency, and a damaging one in the long run, can be seen in J.V. Martin's Nashism motion and in the project for a Situationist Encyclopaedia or Dictionary of definitions for which Mustapha Khayati wrote a preface. Whilst these projects did not develop beyond the Definitions of 1958 and whilst they may have been exemplary detournements that touch on a critique of received knowledge and pedagogy (and in the case of Khayati on the 'semantic realm' as a site of struggle) the same reification of meaning that they sought to combat was still persistently present. The seeds of a 'situationist ideology' are thus here as well, in the very titles of a full span of texts – Theory of the Derive (1958), Minimum Definition of Revolutionary Organisations (1967), How Not To Understand Situationist Books (1969), Provisional Statutes Of The SI (1969) – and in the way that a control over future interpretations is exercised in conformity to the demands of posterity.
Whilst the incidents in Randers and J.V.Martin's pivotal role in them could perhaps be indicative of what Debord later referred to as a "concession to 'united action' with the semi-radical currents that are already beginning to take shape" (46) they were nonetheless practical, collaborative activities that received profuse press attention and caused a stir in Denmark. In some ways the 1'IS capitalised upon this direct action, making it the marker of a practice that had otherwise become stunted by the continual refusal of the 1'IS to collaborate sustainedly with other people and by its search for an elusive theoretical 'coherence' that was having it practice politics as a 'separate' activity. These both amounted to an idealisation of consciousness that hierarchically judged the actions of others by means of the yardstick of the idealism incarnated in the self-image of the 1'IS. Their self-alloted avant-garde status, then, led them to momentarily offer their support to "those Danish comrades who over the last few weeks have resorted to incendiary bombs against the travel agencies that organise tours to Spain" (47). Whether or not any Situationists were involved in these campaigns, it is nonetheless indicative of a drive to become associated with something more than the 'semi-radical' – the exemplary actions of the exemplary. Terrorism, whilst it can provoke moments of crisis, has always been an endeavour that belittles and regresses emerging social relations, it is a vanguard action that, in the long run, seeks to impatiently transcend the reformulation of revolutionary practice in the 'everyday'. Whilst the 1'IS, through Giofranco Sanguinetti, later revealed state terrorism as a strategy of counter-revolution they never seriously embraced such actions. The vanguardism of the 1'IS was more a matter of their seeking to be the headless leaders of an emerging movement through a deployment of theoretical perspectives, an overestimation of which put them, at the time, in an authoritative relation to the burgeoning counter-culture which they never ceased to castigate. Just as the incidents in Randers involved many people who were not members of the 1'IS, so too the other Situationist scandal of this period, that fermented by 1'IS sympathisers around Strasbourg University and the collaborative authoring of On The Poverty Of Student Life in 1966, was carried out by dissident students. Jens Jørgen Thorsen reported that those involved were eventually excluded by the 'de Bordist section' even though they had no want to be thus included. He also noted how these exclusions followed upon a moment of collective production and draws attention to the similar treatment of the Mexican Situationist Group and some of the American Groups – Black Mask and Up Against The Wall Motherfuckers (48). The 1'IS was, then, prone to limiting the efficacy of any forms of intervention that did not match up to its ideal. This had the effect of elevating its own (non) actions, inferring them to be at the hub of a movement without a centre, whilst, damagingly to it and its claims to be the most contemporaneous theorists, it began to loose touch with the changing conditions of capitalism. Whilst the 1'IS could, in its Minimum Definition Of Revolutionary Organizations, urge itself and other organisations to act as the "negation... of the prevailing social spectacle which, from news media to mass culture, monopolises communication between people around their unilateral reception of images of their alienated activity" (49), it could simultaneously block itself from any further theorising of how the continuing production of a 'social imaginary' was changing the conditions of everyday life and the very terrain of revolution. By naming the 'spectacle' the 1'IS, recursively fleeing from its own nemesis (ideologisation of social relations), separated itself from those shared social conditions and, as was its wont with denying anything but an idealised working class creativity, it undermined an awareness of the 'productivity' of the spectacle as an additional force in the reproduction of capitalist social relations and, crucially, as a new weapon in their subversion. Thus, whilst it sought maximum exposure for its own scandals, it could discount the interventionist activities of the Nashists as seeking the "grossest commercial publicity" with the "active collusion of some journalists" (50). This collusion may well have involved Jens Jørgen Thorsen. In the early 60s Thorsen worked as a journalist for a Danish tabloid and it may have been his practical understanding of the workings of the media industry that led to the success of the scandal of the Little Mermaid. This incident, occurring in 1964 (the same year that Asger Jorn refused the Guggenheim prize), was titled by the BS as The Little Mermaid Loses Her Head. It was carried out by providing the media with an anonymous action, the decapitation of the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen harbour, and then promising, over a period of weeks to unveil both the head and the perpetrator. Having provoked a national crisis – the statue is a powerful totem of the Danish social imaginary – having provoked the deployment of the Danish police's murder squad, the BS, being closely monitored by the police, informed the media that they would release all details of the event in the next issue of the Drakabygget magazine which would be available at an exhibition – The Situationists In Art – to be held at Varberg. On the day of the opening a crowd gathered at this coastal town and, being urged to the sea's edge by Hardy Strid, was soon greeted by the sight of an incoming boat. As the boat moored in the bay a frogman swam inland carrying a bundle until, once in view of the crowd, he clambered onto a rock only to drop the bundle into the sea and swim back to the boat. Looking back on this event Thorsen referred to it as "a complete new use of mass media" and it could also be possible to say that it was something of the creation of a 'spectacle', an in(ex)filtration of the social imaginary, that being unresolved and anti-climactic, showed, in the form of the spectacle, the simultaneous arousal and thwarting of desire that the 1'IS identified as a facet of mediatised experience.
As a by-product of their theory of the spectacle the 1'IS soon set a dangerous trap whereby any publicised event, any social gathering, could be demonised as being indicative of pacification. As Jean Barrot points out the 1'IS were obsessed with forms – commodity, councils, spectacle, gallery – and this blinded them to the content-element of the form, the social relations that accrue in and around the forms. To this end the reduction of social life to one mediated by images and its concomitant reduction of sensory perception to a state of passive spectatorship denied the 'modalities of being' and reduced affectivity to being an inferior adjunct of knowledge. This played itself out in the exclusions whereby participating individuals were seen as finalised 'forms' with no scope for becoming; which in itself says something about the scope of practice within the 1'IS. For the 1'IS – who continued to pillory such people as Nash, Kotanyi, Godard, Lefebvre, Castoriadis – you were one thing and always that one thing; social circumstances, only changing at the moment of revolution, were, until then, static. In many ways Debord's theory of the 'spectacle' encourages such a view, or is the logical outcome of it, for it declares communication to be as unilateral, as finished as a coherent theory. In describing the ideological progression of capitalism Debord's theory of the spectacle did not take account of the participatory aspect of all social life, even those aspects of it which can be oppressive and harmful. This very point had been raised by Jorn in the early years of the 1'IS and was inimical to the activities of the BS. For Jorn, writing in The Critique Of Economic Policy, the work of art was a "source of counter value". This counter value was not dependent on the form that art took, but hinged on those very 'modalities of being', the energies which persist in a perceiving person, that the 1'IS denied by their reduction of perception to passive spectatorship. One of the effects of Debord's theory was, then, to deny the productive aspect of reception which Jorn and the BS took for granted and which, as a result, opened up a field for their practice as it shut yet another terrain down for the 1'IS. The BS not only trusted the energies of the perceiving person, their ability to think and act for themselves, but, with events such as the Co-Ritus, aimed for the 'death of the spectator' by establishing and instituting communicative fields rather than damning all communicative fields as 'spectacular'. Jens Jørgen Thorsen, perhaps refusing to have his activity determined by capitalist ideology, wrote that the communicative phase in art has its basis in "the disappearance of the spectator and his replacement by the participator. A communicative art is an art which lives between. In the space between people" (51). This space-between could be seen as indicative of social relations rather than the classical forms of art and politics, of modalities rather than representations, and it was this accent placed upon a situationistic artistic activity by Thorsen and the BS, their opening up of spaces and their encouragement of communicative participation through an 'anti-objectal' non-representative practice, that led Thorsen to offer that the death of the spectator was simultaneously the death of the 'classic artist'. This point, used to criticise Jorn for "still working as a classic artist on classic art according to classic perception", was similarly indicative of why the 1'IS, aspiring to be 'classic theorists', had fallen into a stupor of coherence. With the advent of the theory of the spectacle and the turn to the functional, propagandist use of detournement, the 1'IS was, despite its talk of the supercession of art, still occupying the position of the 'classical artist'. When Thorsen, in criticising the happening, stated that "the public is sitting gazing like in a theatre or as of in front of a painting looking for the true basic conception" he inadvertently hit at a problem running through the 1'IS: their theory of the spectacle, their coherence, was nothing other than a 'true basic conception', an aspect of reality presented as an indisputable fact and communicated unilaterally like any other 'classical' work. As the mouthpiece of correct consciousness the 1'IS had no need to involve itself in anything because it had nothing to learn from others. Thorsen said as much when he offered of the 1'IS that "this rigid hate of action was exactly the thing the Bordists were criticised for during the May events 68 when they, like technocrats, spent their time in a restaurant far away from the battlefields handing out pieces of good advice" (52). Whilst this is not the place to go into the role of the 1'IS in the occupations movement it is interesting to note that Rene Vienet, in his book on the occupations, offered that the "SI explained the deepening and concentrations of alienations by the delay of the revolution". This strange statement offers somehow that the revolution, the great day, resolves 'alienated' social relations rather than it being a case that a change of social relations can help bring the revolution about. The revolution is participated in by more than just ideologues, and emanates from more than just one place. Whilst the coming revolution was to have absolved the 1'IS from its alienating practice of exclusions, the BS, as cultural revolutionaries interested in opening up 'communicative fields', added to the general ferment for which no one group or ideological brand was responsible, by occupying a pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Having planned to do this with the co-operation of Italian anarchists the BS, taking advantage of the withdrawal of the Swedish delegation, managed to get past a cordon of police by using fake press passes (supplied by Thorsen?) and joined up with a month long occupation of the 'Academia de Belli Arte'. Although the Biennale was subject to a concerted boycott and was besieged by anarchists the BS decided in conjunction with a meeting of the World Anarchist Council held in Stockholm the previous month, to send themselves in as a Trojan Horse to establish a 'pavilion of revolt'. This had the effect of symbolically creating a situation in which protest occurred both outside and within the Biennale: the protest was 'everywhere' a process of in(ex)filtration, it had caused the deployment of cordons of police and yet had broken them. To accompany their action the BS issued a Declaration. Signed by Nash, Thorsen and Caesar and titled Declaration To Our Italian Artists And Comrades: Follow Courbet (53) the three signatories outlined several stages of action. Beginning with an outline of the planning of the occupation the Declaration proclaimed that by sending in the BS as a Trojan horse it had revealed how the "terror-police" defends "the art-police". The second stage was to call for others to "leave the art academies". So the BS having been involved in the planning of the protest outside, having broken in, now urged others to break free of the "cultural concentration camp" that such Biennales represent. The final stage, drawing upon the example of Gustav Courbet's protest at the 1855 World Exhibition in Paris, called for "permanent art barricades" to be established. The BS, with a nod to their experiences within the 1'IS, finished their declaration with the words "Divided We Stand", and thus, acknowledging participation and process rather than mutually exclusive positions, it could be said that they offered a new social relation of differences, a variability within a unity, that not only assured participation, but offered practical means to overcome the traps of individualism about which Jorn had forewarned the Situationist movement: 'the idealist equation of subjectivity with individualism'.
Having, in the 1960 article The Adventure, doubted whether artists were capable of concerted action together, the later years of the 1'IS, marked by the disintegration of British, American and Italian Sections, are a sorry tale of its organisational implosion. They are also the tale of how the 1'IS came to be indistinguishable from its main theorist, Guy Debord, and how the sovereignty of individualism, ever present within it, came to be explicitly inscribed into its final moments. Beginning with the Minimum Definition Of Revolutionary Organisations, adopted by the 7th Conference of the 1'IS in Paris 1966, the 1'IS sought to provide the growing movement of contestation with a 'mission statement'. This document, appearing in the third issue of Situationistisk Revolution in 1970, substitutes the 1'IS for a wider movement whilst professing to be what it isn't. It is another moment in the accelerating appearance of a 'situationist ideology' that began on the steps of Silkeborg. From its opening sentence, that has it that the "only purpose of a revolutionary organisation is the abolition of all existing classes...", to the last sentence, that claims any moment of 'victory' as its own, the 1'IS set itself apart from the wider movement and advises others to do the same (54). This text, which is the first to enshrine the 1'IS as a revolutionary organisation, does nothing to say how that organisation should function as a social relation and instead offers that its 'total democracy' is conditioned by each member having "recognised and appropriated the coherence of its critique". If 'total democracy' is the mark of the organisation what need does it then have to define itself as an organisation? Whatsmore, if a condition of participation is 'recognising' and 'appropriating' the critical coherence of the 1'IS, and if, as has been hinted, this coherence is nothing more than a claim, a written expression of its idealised consciousness, then is it that the 1'IS is claiming that participation in a revolutionary organisation is tantamount to a faith, a belief in the coherence of that organisation? Both these aproria's, themselves expressive of "ideology as a separate power", are indicative of the bid for posterity, the vanguardism of the 1'IS, its need to appear in conformity to its 'self-image'. The pride of place given to its 'coherence' also bears out Jacques Camatte's contention that theory can turn into repressive consciousness: "theory, instead of helping establish contact with reality, becomes an agent of separation, of removal, and in the end is transformed into a protrusion, an ejection from the world" (55). With the publication of Debord's Society of The Spectacle just around the corner and with Vaneigem's book delayed to appear at the same time, there is a sense that the 1'IS was gearing-up to stake its claim to be the avant-garde of the revolution. The Minimum Definition text was thus essential to enable a presentation of these 'coherent' works of theory as being expressions of an organisation greater than their individual authors. However, in the report to the Paris Conference, Guy Debord touched upon various organisational aprorias that were neither further addressed by him nor by other members. In this report, the same one that assesses the practical activity of the 1'IS as being poor, there are vague inklings given as to remedies and reasons. Without explaining the sacralizing exclusions Debord is momentarily critical of a purely theoretical practice that he offers indications that 1'IS texts could be misinterpreted as 'grandiose' and 'prestigious'. He also urges the 1'IS to develop an unalienated communication via a "recapturing the faculty of speech". All the same he cannot stop himself from littering this report with exhortations of an idealised notion of practice that is trapped in the shadow of 'coherence' i.e. 'real common practice', 'real common activity', 'really possible activity'. With this report it is almost as if Debord has a dim recollection of what he had previously written on the 'construction of situations', but for him and others these 'situations' had become superceded not only by moments of insurrection and scandal, but by organisational issues. The 'construction of situations', moving away from its original innovatory formulation as a means of overcoming alienation through inter-subjective communication and investigation into the 'everyday' – the reforging of social relations and community – had become a means of carrying out a once criticised militant activity under another guise. The 1'IS's call for a reactivation of the workers councils, in which the working class expressed its constituting power, became a substitute for the 'construction of situations', which, with their affective component, had become too closely associated with the 'sphere' of art. Its turn to 'councilism', first mooted in Instructions For Taking Up Arms, was a way that the idealism of the 1'IS was exacerbated and not abated. Rather than seeing the councils as an historic expression of the working class movement, the 1'IS saw the councils as an idealised practice, as a transcendent form of ideal organisation: "this is where the objective conditions of historical consciousness are reunited. This is where direct and active communication is realised" (56). To suggest that communication can be 'realised' at some distant point or by means of a specific form, is to maybe suggest, like Vienet above, that communication is not a process, an inter-relational practice, but a possession proper to individuals.
After the May Events, throughout which the 1'IS had called upon the working class to form workers councils, the last issue of Internationale Situationniste, published in 1969, contained another essay on organisation that was to set the tone of their practice until their demise in 1972. This text, an 'authentic' version correcting those versions of it that had been circulating without the 1'IS's permission, again seemed concerned with putting the record straight for posterity. Wanting to distance themselves from being seen as Anarchists, this text, The Organisation Question For The SI, was written by Debord in April 1968 with a postscript added in August 1969 and became known as the 'April Theses'. Despite the experiences of the May Events this text alarmingly reveals the problems that had beset the 1'IS since the exclusion of the Nashists in 1962 and thus since its 'supercesion of art'. As it had offered in 1960, the 1'IS was still a "group based upon the complete freedom of individuals", but now this was a freedom valued in relation to the expression of a critical theory in which "everyone is responsible for what he does personally without any reference to an organisational community" (57). This statement, based upon a ratification of sovereign individualism above that of social relations, not only equates critical theory with contemplative individuals rather than with a practical assemblage, it effects a simultaneous isolation of any individual member of the 1'IS at the moment that they are admitted to the organisation, and thus pre-empts the development of any social relations inside the 1'IS as an organisation. With social relations being at best conducted through the intermediary of text, the 1'IS, in fetishising its organisation as a symbol of revolutionary actuality, was, in part, fetishizing its own organisation as an educational establishment; a competitive environment in which members were called upon to "demonstrate their abilities" and show "real capabilities". Worse than this perhaps, and attesting to a sovereign 'state of exception', it becomes a matter of the 1'IS being declared as an organisation only when it suits Guy Debord; for if 'everyone is responsible for what he does personally without any reference to an organisational community', then could the 1'IS be said to exist as an organisation? It follows from this that the 1'IS was very much an 'obscure object of desire', a phantasm that blocked any expression of a situationistic group subjectivity, by having those subjectivities cathect the imaginary entity of 'coherence'. By thus incarnating an idealised consciousness, based upon sovereignty of individualism (and therefrom upon a proprietorialism, a right to possession and exclusivity), the 1'IS, even after, and perhaps as part of the burn-out of the May Events, could never hope to regain a practical foothold – in its stead there arises an almost metaphysical desiring, a transcedence of time and space: "The SI must now prove its effectiveness in a subsequent stage of revolutionary activity" [emphasis added]. Like a similarly paralysing tautology at point seven of this text – "truth is verifying itself" – what is demanded of much needed participants is a propensity to discipledom that, in a similar deflective operation to that attending the excludees, is rejected scornfully as the passive idolatry of the 'contemplatives' in its ranks. If anything could secure the 1'IS as an actually-existing entity then it was the exclusions, but even these were seen as a way to avoid the practical antagonisms of contradiction as they were, for Debord, "responses to objective threats that existing conditions hold in store for our actions". The exclusions were a defence against a threat to the idealised self-image, means of removing its connection to reality and enabling the 1'IS, as Camatte suggested, to "frame reality with its concept". If for Debord the 1'IS's 'concept' was the spectacle... for Vaneigem it was coherence itself that had become the 'concept': the "expulsions and breaks are the only defence of an imperilled coherence" (58). To establish coherence as the benchmark of participation is tantamount to dictating that inter-subjective relations within an organisation be carried on in an atmosphere of fear and reserve and whilst, in the 'April Theses', Debord offers that "coherence is acquired and verified by egalitarian participation in the entirety of a common practice, which simultaneously reveals shortcomings and provides remedies", he neglects to consider that when that 'common practice' (already deemed superfluous) is absent, when there is meretricious competition enshrined within an organisation, then any resultant practice can only base itself on revealing the 'shortcomings'. Under the terms of this logic it seems that the 1'IS only existed as a 'common practice', as an organisation, when it was expelling someone and that this steady stream of expulsions became not only a way to artificially create antagonisms within the group, but to seek to present the exclusions as a revolutionary practice itself (e.g. the issuing of a tract on the expulsion of Atilla Kotanyi in 1963). So, when Debord candidly wrote in the 'April Theses' that "the exclusions have almost never marked any theoretical progress in the SI: we have not derived from these occasions any more precise definition of what is unacceptable" he is not only drawing attention to the way that the removal of contradiction, the test of practice, impaired the 'theoretical progress' of the 1'IS, he is articulating once again the 'sovereign power' that exists abstractedly in the 1'IS: the 'unacceptable' cannot be made any more 'precise' because it is the (repressed) preserve of an individualism (that cannot be questioned), a sovereign freedom unrestrained by social relations, a matter of 'exceptional' cases who, gathered together under the illusion of 'common practice', came to form nothing more than an 'ideological model of socialisation' (58a).
Although the 'April Theses' were intended as a discussion document Debord added at their end that "in order to make the form of this debate consistent with what I see as their content I propose that this text be communicated to certain comrades close to the SI or capable of taking part in it, and that we solicit their opinion on this matter." Aside from the meretricious tone that suggests that some phantom 'capabilities' are needed in order to attend a debate on organisation, this text seems to ask for participation at the same time that it inbuiltly rejects it. Debord, who was to complain of his increasing centrality in the 1'IS, perhaps gives an indication here as to why this was so: he not only infers here that he has provided the content for a form, but that the content he has provided (the 'April Theses') should determine the form that the debate should take. There is nothing new in ascribing an authoritarianism to Guy Debord, but it is maybe also a case, in view of the theoretical leanings of the 1'IS, its contemplative tenor, that the most contemplative would come to assume the role of leader. But with the 1'IS we are not so much dealing with the problems of a leader, but with what Jorn, in criticising Isodore Isou and the Lettrists, called the "personification of the anonymous" (59). The problem with an organisation that is simply the collection of a group of individuals who are sovereign over their own ‘private consciousness’, who thus have no concern for the space between people, and consequently for an unrepressed activation of social relations as the situationistic formation of what Thorsen called a ‘communicative field’, is that the organisation they have formed projects in front of them a mask to cover over a rampant individuality grounded on an unstated repression (the ‘unacceptable’ that cannot be made any more ‘precise’). One facet of such an individuality is that it not only seeks itself as its own ideal, but it projects its ideals forward before it as an unresponsive disavowal of intimate communication that helps it protect the sovereignty of its own experience. Thus, with the April Theses, Debord could call for a debate and pre-empt it. His individual expression substituted itself for a group articulation and, under the guise of the 1’IS, became anonymous. This is to say that Debord identified so absolutely with the 1'IS, came to represent it, that what has been called here its 'self-image' would eventually be indistinguishable from his own. Guy Debord, rather than being the leader of an organisation, was, as its foremost contemplative, the author of its main theory, the ideal of that organisation. His authority, then, comes with his being the admixture of his own written idealism and with his status as the ego-ideal for the other 1'IS members. So instead of the ‘unalienated communication’ that they sought, Debord and the 1’IS gave succour to a modality of individuality – the narcissistic idealism of a ‘private consciousness’ – that came to fill the spaces between people with an air of defensiveness, proprietorship and mutual reproach. This enshrining of alienation (repression) within the group, assured by the ever impending practice of exclusions, was also the continual reinforcement of its duplicitous take on organisation and ‘common practice’: if the ‘unacceptable’ could not be made any more ‘precise’ then, Debord, as sovereign, as ego ideal, could exercise a ‘state of exception’ at anytime, against anyone and for anything. Perhaps, then, it is little wonder that individualism within the 1’IS would intensify to such a self-protective and narcissistic degree, that the organisation would slowly come to freeze over with mutual fear and accusation. So, when Debord complained of people being simply proud to be members of the 1’IS without their doing anything, rather than look into the reasons for this and discover an unsubverted sovereign power, an ego ideal governing the interplay of relations, he once more projected out the ideal-image of the 1’IS (his own self-image, his ego-ideal) which, with less and less people to exclude, he would later turn onto the pro-situ milieu. In other words the individualist deficiency enshrined within the 1’IS – its idealism, its image of itself, its alienated relations – was projected onto others rather than being confronted as an inescapable facet of shared social life under capitalism. And so, the conflicts that occurred in its final years seem to have, instead, centred around those pertaining to the organisation of the 1’IS into national sections. At the Delegates Conference held in Wolsfed and Trier in 1970, J.V.Martin is reported as denouncing "the complete and scandalous lack of interest of the whole international about the Scandinavian area" (60). Martin is also reported at being dissatisfied with the "faulty communication from the French section" and some disgruntlement with what was perceived as French centrism was levelled at the 1'IS from the American section who in turn referred to the 'infantilism of the sections'. With this obscuring of sovereign individuality and with exclusions thus proceeding unabated until the dissolution of the 1'IS in 1972 it is difficult to agree with Jean Barrot when he, drawing out the ramifications of the 1'IS's councilism, says that for the 1'IS the "revolution appeared as the extension of inter-subjective situations to the whole of society" (61). From many points of view, including that of J.V.Martin who enquired at the Trier Conference into what was happening with "our best weapon i.e. construction of situations", the Situationist project, as expressed by the 1'IS, floundered precisely because it could not explore the very dynamic of group subjectivity, an exploration that may have revealed to it the narcissism, idealism, avant-gardism and repressive consciousness that made an organisation into an individuality, a personification of sovereign power. Raoul Vaneigem who was closest and yet most distant from this exploration, who could offer that "the project of participation enhances the transparence of human relationships" also offered a cause for the malaise, in the 1972 postscript to his book, as being due to radical theory becoming "independent of the self-movement of revolutionary consciousness". Collective practice, the shifting of the ego-ideal, the relational ground of individuality, is conspicuous by its absence, replaced by an ideal and autonomised consciousness.
The same year that the 1'IS dissolved, the BS, having made an intervention at the Royal Danish opera house the year before by blowing whistles and hurling leaflets from the balconies, made one of their art barricades outside the Documenta exhibition in Kassel. Called Anti-Documenta-Art-Work this formless collection of junk, an 'anti-object', greeted visitors as they approached the Museum Fridericianum. Whether or not the piece they assembled is considered as an art work or as a social action, a moment of communicative urbanism, it is still some kind of testament to the persistence of the BS. This is one group that seems not to have disintegrated into acrimony and this is perhaps a result of the fact that it never saw itself as something it could never be; it did not work under the shadow of posterity and only began to turn its attention to its historification as a means of making sure that it did not become invisible to later generations. Busy making actions and interventions the BS only rarely concentrated on theoretical production and, as with the collaboration between Nash and de Jong, the end result was always provisional, always seen as an adjunct to its activities rather their defining moment. As with Jorn, the BS were theoretical expressionists. So, if the BS could be seen to be growing towards Anarchism, then it was not an Anarchism of position, one that could be used to provide them with answers fitting neatly into language, but an Anarchism that was consulted to bolster and politicise their cultural-revolutionary practice. In other words stressing "experiment through action, through creating or intervening in situations" (62), the practical activity that haunted the 1'IS was the motor of the BS. Having experienced the hot end of the exclusions the BS were well aware that their organisation could be a 'communicative field' itself and that this 'field', potentially instaurated anywhere and at any time, was dependent upon a new social relation that could come to expression by means of the group functioning as a social organism. Of Drakabygget Thorsen wrote: "Nearly all the new collectivities base themselves upon group marriage thus transforming the collectivities into sorts of pagan monasteries. The Bauhaus Situationniste on the contrary has only one goal: to achieve freedom for everybody on the place. Freedom to work, to come or leave, join or not join" (63). Whilst this plays a little into the traps of 'lifestylism' that Jean Barrot criticised the 1'IS for, it is nonetheless a matter of the BS creating the form and movement of their own liberation. To his credit Debord saw this same movement as best expressing the content of the workers councils in which "the proletarian movement is its own product and this product is the producer himself" (64). However, Debord restricted this very 'becoming', this situationistic activity, to the workers councils as a superior form of organisation, whereas the BS were able to extend this 'productive co-operation' to the full spectra of life, a mixed semiotic, rather than having it rest on an historically determined form that was rapidly being supplanted by a developing capital. These developments – variously termed over the years as 'real domination of capital', as 'anthropomorphosis and escape of capital', as 'biopolitics' etc. in which more and more of life falls under the determinations of capital, in which individuals become the colonies of capital – were hinted at continually in the early years of the 1'IS, but their ramifications, the situationistic construction of new social relations and communicative fields, came less and less to motivate the 1'IS. If anything they became part-and-parcel of the individualism enshrined within the 1'IS. Vaneigem, described as its weakest point by Jean Barrot, was perhaps more like the one 'charged' with expressing the group's 'unconscious': "Oppression is no longer centralised because oppression is everywhere. The positive aspect of this: everyone begins to see... that first and foremost it is themselves that they have to save, they themselves that they have to choose as centre..." (65). Strangely enough, considering the accusations of self-interest hurled at them by the 1'IS in 1962, the BS as well as Group Spur, continued their activities well beyond the 1972 tidemark because their members saw the significance of an ongoing 'combat against culture' rather than its supercession and, crucially, could work together collectively. Thorsen, writing in the first Co-Ritus manifesto of 1961, identified individualism as a utopian leaning and went on to say that such individualism had "produced the divide between the individual and the group, between the ideal and the banal, between art and anti-art, between the creator and the sheep" (66). The problem of individualism that had wrecked the 1'IS, leading to its legacy being identified with one person, had, through a continual ethos of 'inclusivity', made of the BS a grouping that never sought to integrate its members to an ideal-ego. Rather than thus make way for the sovereign domination of personalities and a conflict of egos thinly veiled by a written 'coherence' that could be objectively judged by 'history' the BS, pursuing the space between people and a mixed semiotic, were intent on producing a non sovereign socialisation: "turning the possibilities of art into the possibilities of social space"(67).
The 'realisation and suppression' of art that was much vaunted by the 1'IS takes on, when put against the activities of the BS, an individualist hue that insinuates that the 1'IS were in 'possession' of art. When Vaneigem offered that the supercession of art was "the actualisation of art and philosophy in individual lived experience" he did nothing more than reconfine creative activity to the bounds of the individual. Something similar occurs when the 1'IS claims to have superceded revolutionary theory: they come to possess the work of Henri Lefebvre, Socialisme ou Barbarie and its offshoot Informations Correspondance Ouvrieres, and go no further. Like any ownership without use the concepts they wield become ornamental, a matter of style and whether or not the act of plagiarism involved is a theft on behalf of the revolution, it is, in the case of the 1'IS, wielded in an exclusive manner; it belongs to them rather than to a wider movement. For the BS 'supercession' existed as a generosity that extended to their own dematerialisation as artists (the 'death of the classic artist'). Art was to be 'placed in new relations', it was to be the spur for the creation of new social relations in which individualism, the repressive barrier to communication, was to be superceded and severed from the paradigm of sovereignty. As if to drive this point home J.V.Martin and Jens Jørgen Thorsen began to collaborate together on extemporised paintings and on a statement entitled All Culture Is Collective. Rallying against the individualist ideology of artistic creation and auteurism the two write: "Down with art which is self-contented and ego-centric, which contemplates its own navel! Up with generating everybody's art for all" (68). Discussions between the two are reported to have fed their way into Thorsen's project for a Situationist Antinational which was publicised in a magazine of the same name in 1974. Some new such Situationist grouping had been mooted by the BS as long ago as their creation of the 'pavilion of revolt'. Here in an additional Declaration intended to collect signatories of those groups sympathetic to overcoming "aesthetical isolation" and the manipulation of cultural life, it was further stated that the BS "was against the principal of national representation and authorisation of art by which the process of international artistic activation is suppressed" (69). Perhaps overcoming the Nordic centrism that, in warding-off Group Spur, had led to the project for a 2'IS to falter, Thorsen, with half an eye on the disagreements between national sections within the 1'IS, saw a chance to reaffirm an internationalism not based upon nationality but upon a willingness to surmount such barriers. In his draft manifesto for the Situationist Antinational, Thorsen asked what had become of the 1'IS: "Why did it lead to a series of mutual exclusions and attacks, to the passivating philosophism which forced the movement on its knees, made it split into bits and alienated it in relation to its own existence, transforming it into a new ideology?" (70). His answer to this was that nationalism had developed within the 1'IS which in turn fed a fight to be 'chief-ideologist'. Whilst it could be said that national differences were more a means of covering over the individualism within the 1'IS, Thorsen perhaps came closer to indicting such individualism when he wrote that "we will have to exchange the theories of alienation for the reality of realisation". The alienated communication within the 1'IS was not simply a matter of language barriers but the barrier of language whereby revolutionary intent had been misleadingly signalled first by 'coherent' theory, then by a theory of organisation and finally, in the Veritable Split In The International (1972), by the historification of the organisation. Dealing with this last book of the 1'IS by Debord and Sanguinetti, Jon Horelick, a member of the American Section who had, around 1970, wanted to open up discussions about the exclusions within the 1'IS, made a contribution to Thorsen's project that deals incisively with the problems that led to the increasing inefficacy and demise of the 1'IS. Earmarking the exclusions as "not the source but the product of our problems" and continually drawing attention to intersubjective difficulties within the organisation, Horelick offered that the 1'IS had become an object of contemplation that Debord and Sanguinetti possessed. The historification of the organisation, already ensured by its long term bid for posterity, made it a dead object, an art work, that, communicating unilaterally, was shielded from any successors. For Horelick an "inert common activity which had lost hold even of its theoretical prerequisites for creative participation" had led to the 1'IS becoming nothing more than an "organisational void" (71). Whilst Thorsen's Antinational Situationist project, which was supported by Spur members Heimrad Prem and Helmut Strum, did not get beyond the draft stage it is an apt antidote to the official situationist historiography. Not only does it open out an offer of participation – the manifesto is prefaced by an appeal for comment before it is printed and distributed – it speaks of its intended organisation as a 'new organism'. This is an interesting choice of words for it implies that the Situationist Antinational was to have been a 'social organ' rather than a bureaucratic organisation which the 1'IS eventually became. Whilst Thorsen aligns these 'organisms' with Bakunin's theory of secret societies it is perhaps his intention to infer that the organisms should function as 'situations' for he has it that the new grouping should be based upon the "free correspondence between autonomous groups and individuals". It is perhaps that these secret societies are seen by Thorsen as a way to investigate a subjective dimension, situations of 'full speech', unencumbered by the need to appear sovereignly 'coherent'. As with Jon Horelick's text which, picking up on the example of rampant individuality within the 1'IS and echoing the work of the Italian Autonomists, turns its attention to an examination of the "subjective stature of the existing proletariat" rather than this class being the repository of an objectified idealism, the project of the Situationist Antinational was to be one that accepted the differences between people as a motor of becoming: a group subjectivity, a collective assemblage of enunciation that draws upon all manner of semiotic and emotional material. That this impasse gave rise to a post situationist milieu of the "full personal critique" as urged by Horelick is an indication that the revolutionary project was moving towards a critique of individuality and to a production of subjectivity that could elude the very individualising function of organisations that, in conformity to capitalism, had hitherto created dependent-subjects rather than subject-groups. Key here would be to enter into a different modality of relationship to language – a theoretical expressionism that drawing-on other semiotic registers, a culture of affects, could overcome the paralysing adherence to 'coherence' that elevates the sovereignty of individuals such as Guy Debord into the stature of law-bearers, ego-ideals that stifle the flow of desire between people and instaurate a communicative censorship within groups. Aiming to break such a hold, Thorsen, in his draft manifesto, repeated the BS slogan of "Divided We Stand" and reaffirmed Jorn's ethos of 'variabilities within a unity' – the encounter with others who are not mirror images of ourselves, not screens for narcissistic projection, but potential precipitates, active inhabitants of tangential subjectivities, is the means of creating new social relations that refuse the reduction of social life to the meagre size of easily isolated individualities. As if to emphasise a new starting point, a reaffirmation of the construction of situations, both Horelick and Thorsen end their respective texts with the same yearning sentence: "The new anti-hierarchical groups which emerge today must be like a factory of everyday life..."
NotesThe reseach behind this introduction springs from a week long continuous drift through various archives in Copenhagen. Beginning as casual interest in the Scandinavian branch of the
situationist movement it soon developted into more fundamental discussion and research regarding revolutionary strategies among avant garde movements. Joint research by Howard Slater & Jakob Jakobsen. Photos by Jakob Jakobsen
1. Found in a dictionary drift, histogenesis means "the formation of tissues and organs from undifferentiated cells".
2. Asger Jorn: Forms Conceived As Language. Translated from Cobra No.2 by Sarah Wilson and taken from Situationist International Online – http://members.optusnet.com.au/~rkeehan/
3. Asger Jorn's Artist Statement from Guy Atkins: Asger Jorn, Methuen London, 1964.
4. Asger Jorn: Open Creation And Its Enemies, translated by Fabian Tompsett, Unpopular Books 1994. This edition also contains translations of Originality And Magnitude and Manifesto.
5. Asger Jorn: Open Creation, ibid, p38-39.
6. Spur: The Avant Garde Is Undesirable. Anon translation taken from Situationist International Online.
7. See Jean Sellem: The Movement For A Scandinavian Bauhaus Situationist – A Chronology in Lund Art Pess Vol2. No.3, 1992. Sellem's research has been an indispensable guideline to this text. It shows a Situationist presence in Scandinavia well beyond the 'official' 1972 shutdown. Guy Debord, with an eye on the necessary periodisations of posterity wrote, in The Organization Question For The SI (1968), that the years 1957-1962 "centred around the supercession of art". See Situationist International Anthology ed. Ken Knabb, Bureau Of Public Secrets 1981, p298.
8. Jacqueline de Jong, Jørgen Nash, Ansgar Elde: Danger! Do Not Lean Out! in Situationist Times No.1, 1962. Perhaps it is not so much an 'outcome of the non-activity' of the four and more a matter of the four practicing a mode of social relations based on individualism.
9. Definition in Situationist International Anthology, ibid p112. It is interesting to note that Raoul Vaneigem makes a revealing reference to the figure of 'the traitor' as appearing when "the spirit of play has died in a group". He adds "selling out on play is the prime treachery". See The Revolution Of Everyday Life (1963-65), Left Bank Books & Rebel Press 1983, p201-202.
10. The Fifth SI Conference In Goteborg in Situationist International Anthology, ibid p88. Lars Morell in his Poesien Breder Sig – Nash, Drakabygget & Situationisterne makes reference to a demand for the 'revision' of the SI movement coming at this conference from Debord, Kotanyi and Vaneigem. The So Ein Ding project was here labelled as an 'art' film.
10a. Mikkel Bolt in conversation with Jakob Jakobsen.
11. Guy Debord & Pierre Canjuers: Toward Defining A Unitary Revolutionary Programme (1960) in Situationist International Anthology, ibid, p308. This text was the outcome of the SI's contact with Socialisme ou Barbarie. In The Revolution Of Everyday Life, Vaneigem refers to the "artistic spectacle", ibid p189... and to a core ambiguity of the practice of art as that dividing 'lived experience' from 'aesthetic form', ibid p84. It would be interesting to discover how this plays against Jorn's findings in his Pour La Forme published under the auspices of the 1'IS in 1958.
12. Jacqueline de Jong: Critic Of The Political Practice Of Detournement in Situationist Times No.1, 1962.
13. See Giorgio Agamben: Homo Sacer – Sovereign Power and Bare Life, Stanford University Press, 1998, p109. Agamben has it that "the relation of exception is a relation of ban", ibid, p28. Are the exclusions an exercise of the 'relation of ban'? It is interesting to note that Nash and de Jong speak of the 1'IS as an "organisation which has absolutely no rules", ibid.
14. Instructions For Taking Up Arms (1961) in Situationist International Anthology, ibid p63. In his later denouncement of Vaneigem, Debord at least credits Vaneigem with collaborative input into the anonymous articles of this period. Could it be that the 'methods yet to be experimented with' are 'situations'?
15. The Adventure (1960), ibid, p60.
16. Drakabygget Declaration: Situationist Times No.2, 1962. The declaration was signed by Nash, Thorsen, Fazakerley, Strid, Larsson, Elde, De Jong and Patrick O'Brien. Gordon Fazakerley, from Widnes in the North West of England, had been associated with Jorn and Nash from the late 50s, helped build Drakabygget and was the secretary at Situationist Times. He also published a book of poems under the auspices of the Bauhaus Situationniste in May 1962 with an introduction – Hamletomania – provided by Jørgen Nash. See Gordon Fazakerley: The Ferryboat, Lund Art Press, ibid, p133-143. Patrick O' Brien was the pseudonym used by Guy Atkins, Jorn's biographer.
17. Nietzsche quoted by Pierre Klossowski in his Nietzsche And The Vicious Circle, Athlone 1997, p14.
18. The seizure of Unesco was first mooted in the Situationist Manifesto of 17th May 1960 and published the same year in Internationale Situationniste No.4. See Asger Jorn: Open Creation And Its Enemies, ibid, p44-47. For a full version of the Mutant leaflet see P.H.Hansen: A Bibliography Of Asger Jorn's Writings, Silkeborg 1988.
19. Report of Guy Debord to The VII Conference Of The SI in The Veritable Split In The International (1972), BM Chronos 1984, p99-107. This far from perfect translation still serves as a key document to understanding the unconscious aprorias of the 1'IS.
20. Situationist Manifesto in Asger Jorn: Open Creation, ibid. A similar hope for participation is contained in the Vaneigem-inflected Instructions For Taking Up Arms: "People's creativity and participation can only be awakened by a collective project explicitly concerned with all aspects of lived experience", ibid.
21. Jean Barrot: Critique Of The Situationist International in What Is Situationism, Unpopular Books 1987, p33. Reprinted in What Is Situationism? ed. Stewart Home, AK Press 1996.
22. Alexander Trocchi: A Revolutionary Proposal – The Insurrection Of A Million Minds in City Lights Journal No.2 1964, p33. Trocchi's proposal appeared in International Situationniste No.8 (1963) and was a wide-ranging and ambitious attempt to revolutionise culture. It had an axial role in the British counter culture of the 60s, diffusing into initiatives such as the Arts Lab, the London Anti-University and the Artist Placement Group. As part of the Sigma Portfolio an essay on 'The New Experimental College (Denmark)' was planned.
23. Jean Sellem: Harry Strid's Work in Drakabygget No.6-7-8, 1982. This article briefly covers the activities of the BS up to the decapitation of the 'Little Mermaid' in Copenhagen Harbour in 1964.
24. Jørgen Nash and Jens Jørgen Thorsen: Co-Ritus Interview in Aspekt No.3, 1963. As a long term participant in the BS, Jens Jørgen Thorsen has been a key figure in documenting their activities. See Friheden Er Ikke Til Salg, Bogan 1980.
25. Jean Sellem, ibid.
26. Jørgen Nash: Who Are The Situationists? This article first appeared in The Times Literary Supplement of September 1964 and is an edited and reworked version of the 1962 Declaration which also includes excerpts from the Mutant-manifesto. In the same supplement Michele Bernstein's contribution speaks of "the situationist label" being "usurped by certain intellectuals who have been expelled by the IS... e.g., the followers of Nash in Sweden". For reprints of the Nash and Bernstein articles see An Endless Adventure ed. Iwona Blazwick, ICA/Verso 1989, p61-62.
27. Drakabygget Declaration (1962), ibid.
28. Jørgen Nash, ibid. Nash mentions four such groups. One "on the Hallandsasen in southern Sweden and two more in Denmark and Sweden". We have already mentioned Alexander Trocchi and his oft thwarted plan to establish a Sigma Centre. The project had a twin in Holland energised by Simon Vinkenoog. There was also the Dutch Provos around Constant and in the later 60s, Kommune1 in which Dieter Kunzelmann of Group Spur was involved. Another 'Bauhaus' had existed in the USA since the 30s – The Black Mountain College that drew on the participation of a former Bauhaus lecturer, Joseph Albers.
29. Drakabygget Declaration (1962), ibid. Asger Jorn, more speculatively, saw the very existence of a pseudo socialist nation as the death knell of a creative, revolutionary working class, able to "represent the most pure human value". For him "With the establishment of the socialist ideology within a fixed geographical system, this value is transformed into a quality, and that quality in turn into a spatial quantity. The vision of the world proletariat passes over into its opposite, that of absolute property with the absolute disappearance of all availability, of all the proletarian values".See Critique Of Economic Policy (1960) in Transgressions No.4, 1998, p33. Jorn saw the 'social provocations of youth' as taking the necessary risks to reassert the 'pure human value' which may have inspired the 1'IS to give notice of R.Keller's and R.Vaneigem's project to "introduce the aggressivity of delinquents onto the plane of ideas". See The Bad Days Will End (1962) in Situationist International Anthology, ibid, p87.
30. Bjorn Rosendahl: Bauhaus Situationist In Sweden – A Retrospective in Lund Art Press Vol2 No.3, 1992, p26.
31. Pierre Klossowski playing-out along with Nietzsche, ibid, p4. Klossowski, musing on letters Nietzsche wrote when he mistakenly thought that the Louvre had been destroyed by insurrection in 1871, highlights a whole pathology of guilt about culture: "As long as culture implies slavery and is the product of (unavowed) slavery, the problem of guilt persists", ibid, p11.
32. The following draws upon a text by Anneli Fuchs called Asger Jorn And Art History.
33. The Situationist Times drew upon this method in at least two issues. No.4 focussed on the Labyrinth and No.5 on Rings and Chains.
34. Asger Jorn: Critique Of Economic Policy (1960), ibid, p21.
35. The Situationist Frontier (1960) taken from Situationist International Online. For a more detailed discussion of the 'construction of situations' see Howard Slater: Towards Situation, Break/Flow – Occasional Documents, 2001.
36. The Avant-Garde Of Presence (1963) in Situationist International Anthology, ibid, p110. The stipulations here are tantamount to finishing-off the ‘construction of situations’, banning its practice by anyone else except 1’IS members. Interestingly, Jean-Luc Nancy has offered that sovereignty “is the power of execution or the power of finishing as such”. See his Being Singular Plural, Stanford University Press 2000, p120.
37. Raoul Vaneigem: The Revolution Of Everyday Life (1965), ibid p153.
38. Ideologies, Classes And The Domination Of Nature (1963), in Situationist International Anthology, ibid, p107.
39. Jacqueline de Jong: Critic Of The Political Practice Of Detournement, ibid. Asger Jorn would concur with this: "All life is an alternation between activity and passivity... production and consumption... through giving oneself alternatively to both situations with equal abandonment there arises a new creation, the dialectical result of apparently incompatible oppositions." Quoted by Graham Birtwistle in his Living Art: Asger Jorn (1946-1949), Reflex 1986.
40. No images or written accounts of Jan Strijbosch's work are featured in the RSG-6 brochure that accompanied this 'collective manifestation of the Situationistisk Internationale'.
41. The Counter Situationist Campaign In Various Countries (1963) in Situationist International Anthology, ibid, p111.
42. Guy Debord & Pierre Canjuers in Situationist International Anthology, ibid, p308.
43. The SI And The Incident In Randers (1966). Translated by Reuben Keehan and taken from Situationist International Online.
44. Raoul Vaneigem: Revolution of Everyday Life, ibid, p74. The problem of language was raised by the 1'IS in the article All The Kings Men (1963) and by Mustapha Khayati in Captive Words: Preface To A Situationist Dictionary (1966).
45. Guy Debord: The Situationists And The New Forms Of Action In Politics And Art (1963), in Situationist International Anthology, ibid, p 317. This avant-gardism (or simply vanguardism) was taken up in The Revolution Of Everyday Life (1965) by Vaneigem when he offered that the 1'IS: "will supply a model for the future organisation of society", ibid, p211. Likewise in The Organisation Question For The SI (1968), Debord offered that the 1'IS's task as an organisation was to "unite and radicalise scattered struggles", ibid.
46. Guy Debord: The Organisation Question For The SI (Note added August 1969), ibid, p301.
47. Guy Debord: The Situationists And The New Forms Of Action In Politics And Art, translated in full by Ken Knabb and taken from the Not Bored website.
48. See Jens Jørgen Thorsen (aka Bamber Gosling): First Underground – First Rebels in Situationister 1957-70, ibid. For Black Mask and Up Against The Wall see the anthology of material recirculated by Unpopular books in 1993. There is only scant information about the Mexican Situationists. Similarly for the Japanese Zengakurren movement who made contact with both situationist currents in Europe. The latter, in the persons of T.Kurokawa and Toru Tagaki, met the 1'IS in September 1963. See Situationnistes Chronologie in An Endless Adventure ed. Iwona Blazwick, ibid, p20.
49. Minimum Definition Of Revolutionary Organisations (1966) in Situationist International Anthology, ibid, p223.
50. The Counter Situationist Campaign In Various Countries, ibid.
51. Jens Jørgen Thorsen: The Communicative Phase In Art in Situationister i Konsten ed J.Nash, H. Strid, J.Thorsen. Bauhaus Situationniste 1966.
52. Jens Jørgen Thorsen: First Underground – First Rebels in Situationister 1957-70 ibid. The 1'IS produced their own documentation outlining their involvement in the May events and in the atmosphere that preceded them. See Rene Vienet: Enrages And Situationists In The Occupation Movement (1968), Autonomedia/Rebel Press,1992. Not unsuprisingly Vienet blames a "backwardness of theoretical consciousness" for the movement's failure whilst providing the 1'IS with the ideological alibi of "implacable coherence".
53. Both Declarations are reproduced in Situationister 1957-70, ibid.
54. Minimum Definition Of Revolutionary Organisations (1966), ibid.
55. Jacques Camatte: The Wandering Of Humanity, Black & Red 1973, p41.
56. Guy Debord: Society Of The Spectacle (1967) – Theses 116, Black & Red 1983.
57. Guy Debord: The Organisation Question For The SI, ibid, p300.
58. Raoul Vaneigem: The Revolution Of Everyday Life, ibid, p211.
58a. See Jean Baudrillard: For A Critique Of The Political Economy Of The Sign, Telos 1981, p95 n7. This rich phrase, neither coined by Baudrillard in relation to the 1'IS nor any further developed by him, perhaps suggests here that the example of 1'IS can provide us with insight into the ideology of individualism and the individualising effect of ideologies.
59. Asger Jorn: Originality and Magnitude (1960) in Open Creation And Its Enemies, ibid, p18.
60. Report From The Delegates Conference held in Wolsfeld and Trier (1970). Taken from Not Bored website where it's sourced as being reproduced from Pascal Dumontier: Les Situationnistes et Mai 68 – Theorie et practique de la revolution 1966-1972, Editions Lebovici 1990.
61. Jean Barrot ibid, p 20.
62. Jens Jørgen Thorsen: First Underground – First Rebels, ibid.
63. Jens Jørgen Thorsen: Drakabygget in Situationister 1957-70, ibid.
64. Guy Debord: Society Of The Spectacle, Theses 117, ibid.
65. Raoul Vaneigem: The Revolution Of Everyday Life, ibid, p188.
66. Jens Jørgen Thorsen: Co-Ritus Manifesto (1961) in Friheden Er Ikke Til Salg, Bogan 1980.
67. Jens Jørgen Thorsen: Communicative Phase In Art (1966), ibid.
68. Jens Jørgen Thorsen & J.V.Martin: All Culture Is Collective in Antinational Situationist, 1974.
69. Declaration On The New International Solidarity Amongst Artists (1968) in Situationister 1957-70, ibid.
70. Jens Jørgen Thorsen: Draft Manifesto of The Antinational Situationists in Antinational Situationist No.1 1974. The draft manifesto was recommended by Jørgen Nash, J.V.Martin, Patrick O'Brien, Tom Krojer, Ambrosius Fjord, Andres King, Yoshio Nakajima, Liza Menue, Heimrad Prem, Mette Aarre, Heinz Freitag, Liz Zwick, Novi Margni and Helmut Strum.
71. Jon Horelick: Beyond The Crisis Of Abstraction And The Abstract Break With That Crisis – The SI in Antinational Situationist No.1, 1974. As if to emphasise the role of Debord as an ego-ideal for the group even this critical text refers to the "excellence and stature of G.Debord".