The Situationist International (1957-1972)
Edited by Heinz Stahlhut, Juri Steiner, Stefan Zweifel. Text by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Jean Beaudrillard, Giorgio Agamben, et. al.
A precursor to Arte Povera, Fluxus and Punk, the Situationist International has bequeathed a uniquely complex and conflicted legacy to contemporary art-making. Led by Guy Debord and Raoul Vaneigem, it initially favored the production of art objects; by 1962, collective debate on the role of art had caused the expulsion of its fine-artist members, including Asger Jorn, other members of Cobra and the entire Munich-based Gruppe SPUR. The revolution envisaged by the Situationist International demanded creativity in everyday life, the constructing of situations or the "fashioning of a temporary micro-environment and series of events for a single moment in the life of several individuals."
The Situationist International (1957-1972) (the catalogue for the eponymous exhibition at Centraal Museum, Utrecht, and Museum Tinguely, Basel) is the first publication to evaluate the creative contributions of the SI. It addresses three areas of Situationist practice: firstly, anonymous and communal artistic production (e.g Cobra, Asger Jorn's folk art research and the "Bauhaus Imaginiste"); secondly, "détournement," variously translated as "diversion" or "subversion," a key SI strategy in which extant works such as advertisements, comics, paintings or films are politically reconstituted by collage or other means; and thirdly, the practice of "dérive"--"drift" or purposeless wandering in an urban milieu--which generated the now widely known phenomenon of "psychogeography" and led to radical reassessments of architectural practice. The Situationist International includes new unpublished SI documents and essays by Giorgio Agamben, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Peter Sloterdijk and Philippe Sollers.