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The Transformation of Poverty and the Transformation of the Revolutionary Project. . .

"The goal of the Situationists is immediate participation in a varied and passionate life, through moments which are both transient and consciously controlled. The value of these moments can only lie in their real effect. The Situationists see cultural activity, from the point of view of the totality, as a method of experimental construction of everyday life, which can be developed indefinitely with the extension of leisure and the disappearance of the division of labour (and, first and foremost, the artistic division of labour). Art can stop being an interpretation of sensations and become an immediate creation of more highly evolved sensations. The problem is how to produce ourselves, and not the things which enslave us." (Internationale Situationniste No. 1, 1958)

IT IS NOT ENOUGH TO BURN THE MUSEUMS. They must also be sacked. Past creativity must be freed from the forms into which it has been ossified and brought back to life. Everything of value in art has always cried aloud to be made real and to be lived. This 'subversion' of traditional art is, obviously, merely part of the whole art of subversion we must master (cf. Ten Days That Shook the University). Creativity, since Dada, has not been a matter of producing anything more but of learning to use what has already been produced.

CONTEMPORARY RESEARCH INTO THE FACTORS 'conditioning' human life poses implicitly the question of man's integral determination of his own nature. If the results of this research are brought together and synthesized under the aegis of the cyberneticians, then man will be condemned to a New Ice Age. A recent 'Commission on the Year 2000' is already gleefully discussing the possibilities of 'programmed dreams and human liberation for medical purposes.' (Newsweek, 16/10/67) If, on the contrary, these 'means of conditioning' are seized by the revolutionary masses, then creativity will have found its real tools: the possibilities of everyone freely shaping their own experience will become literally demiurgic. From now on, Utopia is not only an eminently practical project, it is a vitally necessary one.

THE CONSTRUCTION OF SITUATIONS IS THE CREATION of real time and space, and the widest integrated field before it lies in the form of the city. The city expresses, concretely, the prevailing organisation of everyday life. The nightmare of the contemporary megalopolis -- space and time engineered to isolate, exhaust and abstract us -- has driven the lesson home to everybody, and its very pitilessness has begun to engender a new utopian consciousness. "If man is formed by circumstances, then these circumstances must be formed by man." (Marx) If all the factors conditioning us are co-ordinated and unified by the structure of the city, then the question of mastering our own experience becomes one of mastering the conditioning inherent in the city and revolutionising its use. This is the context within which man can begin, experimentally, to create the circumstances that create him: to create his own immediate experience. These "fields of lived experience" will supersede the antagonism between town and country which has dominated human life up to now. They will be environments which transform individual and group experience, and are themselves transformed as a result; they will be cities whose structure affords, concretely, the means of access to every possible experience, and, simultaneously, every possible experience of these means of access. Dynamically inter-related and evolving wholes. Game-cities. In this context, Fourier's dictum that "the equilibrium of the passions depends upon the constant confrontation of opposites" should be understood as an architectural principle. (The subversion of past culture as a whole finds its focus in the cities. So many neglected themes -- the labyrinth, for example -- remain to be explored.) What does Utopia mean today? To create the real time and space within which all our desires can be realised and all of our reality desired. To create the total work of art.


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