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The Situationists and the City: A Reader

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  27 ratings  ·  6 reviews
The Situationist International (SI), led by the revolutionary Guy Debord, were active throughout the 1950s and 60s. They published the journal Internationale Situationniste that included many incendiary texts on politics and art, and were a galvanizing force in the revolutions of May 1968. The importance of their work has been felt particularly in their revolutionary analy ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 12th 2010 by Verso (first published 2010)
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So, bought this in New York and it took me a while to get through, not because it isn't interesting, it's just heavy. Heavy language, obscure references, and brilliant ideas! I hope to reference this book often as I work on my thesis. I especially like the ideas for urban interventions that venture into the realm of the imagination: the sequestering of all equestrian statues to a desert for one final battle, moving the Statue of Liberty. Then there is the constant questioning of consumerism, pla ...more
Very impressive anthology of Situationist writings on the subject matter of Architecture and the Urban Landscape. Some you may have read before, but this is a beautiful edited volume and all the material is here in these pages.

Guy Debord and Company touched on a lot of stuff with respect to culture and politics - and Debord's historical pointed remarks - and this maybe the best introduction to the Situationist and their subject matter.
The Situationists give plenty of ideas for making everyday life into art and for seeing the social, economic, cultural, and racial implications of our largely passive ways of being-in-space, and they do it in exuberant near-prose-poems. You may not agree with their ideas of environmental determinism, but it's eye-opening to think about the radical effect that equalizing, adaptable, non-utilitarian surroundings might have on us.
Have read here and there through this edited volume, definitely a good book to pick up and put down by that measure. McDonough's compilation of a more "concrete" side of situationist urban and architectural theory and analysis is a good one.
this is how i communiccafe it s very important to me
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“The architect, like other workers in our endeavor, is facing the inevitability of a change of profession: he [sic] will no longer be a builder of forms alone, but a builder of complete ambiances.” 8 likes
“We must change life,' the poet [Rimbaud] had written, and so the Situationists set out to transform everyday life in the modern world through a comprehensive program that included above all else the construction of 'situations' -- defined in 1958 as moments of life 'concretely and deliberately constructed by the collective organization of a unitary ambiance and a play of events' -- but that also necessary entailed the supersession of philosophy, the realization of art, the abolition of politics, and the fall of the 'spectacle-commodity economy.” 7 likes
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