Original drawing by Ralph Rumney [1957]

RUMNEY, Ralph. [Original, untitled drawing]. 1957. 24 x 19 cm; red and black ink on brown cardboard stock.

An original drawing made by a young Ralph Rumney in 1957, which was a very productive year for the 22/23-year old artist. That year he:

  1. Participated in the “First Exhibition of Psychogeography”, presented by the International Movement for an Imaginist Bauhaus, the Lettrist International and the London Psychogeographical Committee at Taptoe Gallery in Brussels (February)
  2. Participated in the pivotal Metavisual Tachiste Abstract exhibition mounted by the Redern gallery in London (4 April to 4 May). Rumney displayed 14 of his works including “The Change”, which would ultimately be purchased by the Tate (in 1989). (https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/rumney-the-change-t05556)
  3. Co-founded the Situationist International by merging his London Psychogeographical Association (of which he was the sole member) with the Letterist International and the Movement For An Imaginist Bauhaus (May)
  4. Conducted psychogeographical forays into Venice, which ultimately led to “The Leaning Tower of Venice – as well as Rumney’s exclusion from the Situationist International (May). https://situationnisteblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/22/the-leaning-tower-of-venice/
  5. Met Pegeen Guggenheim (Peggy’s daughter) at a gallery opening at Hanover Gallery, instantly falls in love, and runs away to Paris with her. This same year, she gets pregnant with Sandro (born 1958)

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Two Situationists walks into a bar… (La Methode [1958])

We hereby present a set of documents relative to the bar “La Methode”, located at 2 Rue Descartes in Paris. Michèle Bernstein ran the bar from 10 to 29 October 1958. While her tenure was short-lived, it was productive: along with her husband Guy Debord, she produced a series of leaflets promoting the bar.

BERNSTEIN, Michèle; DEBORD, Guy. [La Méthode] Florencie, l’Idole de la Nouvelle Vague… n.p. [Paris]: n.p., n.d. [October 1958]. 1 p.; ill.; 13 x 27 cm; black ink on cream stock 

The text reads: “Florencie L’Idole de la Nouvelle Vague après avoir coulé trois boîtes en dix-huit mois Le Moineau-Bistro, Le Manouche, Le Mont-Blanc, s’attaque maintenant à La Méthode 2, rue Descartes. Hâtez-vous d’y boire un verre avant la fermeture” (Trans: Having driven three bars to bankruptcy – Le Moineau-Bistro, le Manouche, Le Mont-Blanc – Florencie, Star of the New Wave, is now taking on La Methode, located 2 rue Descartes. Come have a drunk before it closes permanently.”).

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BERNSTEIN, Michèle; DEBORD, Guy. [La Méthode] N’essayez plus d’entrer a Polytechnique mais en face a La Méthode… n.p. [Paris]: n.p., n.d. [October 1958]. 1 p.; ill.; 28 x 22 cm.; black ink on yellow stock

The text reads: “N’essayez plus d’entrer à Polytechnique mais en face à La Méthode 2, rue Descartes où vous pourrez voir Florencie le guitariste de l’intelligenstia. Ouverture le vendredi 10 octobre à 20 heures. Consommations à partir de 300 frs.” (Trans: “Don’t try to get into Polytechnique – instead, come across the street to ‘La Methode’, 2 Rue Descartes, where you can see Florencie, the intelligentsia’s musician. Opening Friday, October 10 at 8pm. Drinks from 300 Francs.”). Polytechnique, France’s top engineering school (which also happens to be run by the military) was formerly located at 2, rue Descartes.

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BERNSTEIN, Michèle; DEBORD, Guy. [La Méthode] Rarement la carence intellectuelle et la veulerie morale… n.p. [Paris]: n.p., n.d. [October 1958]. 1 p.; 5.5 x 12.5 m.; black ink on thin yellow stock

The text reads: “Rarement la carence intellectuelle et la veulerie morale d’une génération perdue ont été si manifestes que dans cette irritante jeunesse, aussi étrangère à tout art véritable qu’à l’enthousiasme nouveau de la rénovation française, qui affiche chaque soir son mépris des valeurs occidentales et sa malsaine tristesse à « La Méthode », de la rue Descartes” (Trans: Seldom have the intellectual deficiency and moral cowardice of a lost generation been so manifest as they are in this irritating youth. It is as divorced from any true art as it is in the new enthusiasm brought about by French renovation. Every evening, this youth displays its contempt for Western values and its unhealthy sadness at ‘La Methode’, on Descartes street”)

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And this is what the bar looks like today

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Le Crépuscule des Bureaucrates [1975]

VANEIGEM, Raoul. Le Crépuscule des bureaucratesn.p.: n.p., n.d. [ca. 1975]. 121 p.; tape-bound with green covers.

Original movie script written by Raoul Vaneigem, which remains unpublished to this dayFront page: “Il ne suffit pas de crier : À bas le salariat ! À bas l’argent ! À bas l’État !…il faut créer très vite les conditions qui accélèrent l’effondrement du système dominant et généralisent l’autogestion par la construction libre de la vie quotidienne” (“It is not enough to scream: Down with employment! Down with money! Down wit the State!…One must rapidly create the conditions that will precipitate the fall of the dominant system and spread self-management through the construction of daily life”)

The content and tone reminds us of Ratgeb’s (i.e. Vaneigem’s) in De la grève sauvage à l’autogestion généralisée (From wildcat strike to total self management), published by 10/18 in 1974. While somewhat reminscent of Debord’s film adaptation of La société du spectacle (Society of the Spectacle) from 1974 – there are plenty of detourned images of factories, subways, low income housing, and yes, young women – the content is more accessible and rooted in History (vs. theory).

The first third of the film outlines the misery of daily life in modern-day capitalist societies. Work and commodities are everywhere to be found, while passion is absent.  P.28: “Et pourtant, il y avait mieux a faire que de travailler. Il y avait mieux a faire que de vieillir dans l’ennui et le mensonge” (“Yet, there were better things to do than work. There were better things to do than do grow old in boredom and lies”). P. 29. “Sous le fatras des images, les désirs et les passions sont la, en nous, vivants et emprisonnés.” (“Under this hodge-podges of images, desire and passion remain, inside us, alive but locked up”)

The second third of the film is devoted to the history (and failure) of workers’ councils around the world: The Paris Commune in 1871, the Russian Soviets in 1905, the Italian Councils in 1920, The Durutti Column in 1937,  The Csepel councils in 1956, etc..). We’d like to call out guest appearances by Lenine, Staline, Trotsky and Mao-Tse-Tung (as talking dogs), among others.

The last third of the film is in B&W with no sound. As in silent film, dialogue is conveyed by the use of muted gestures and mime in conjunction with title cards. This part showcases the successful takeover of factories by workers – giving viewers a glimpse of the world that could be. P.88: “L’autogestion se généralise quand elle assure a tous, de façon irréversible, le passage de la survie a une vie passionnante” (“Self-management grows when it guarantees to all the shift from survival to a passionate life”). P.101: “Vous n’avez que l’ennui a perdre et un monde a construire” (“All you have to lose is boredom, and a new world that is yet to be built”)

Not on OCLC or in the trade.

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PSA – Situationist Times Exhibit at Torpedo (Oslo, Norway)

I would like to call readers’ attention to a particularly interesting exhibition on Jacqueline de Jong’s Situationist Times, more particularly on the mythical (never-released) seventh issues of the magazine devoted to pinball. More information below from http://torpedobok.no/torpedo-2

 

The Situationist Times: Same Player Shoots Again! International Tilt Exhibition (May-September 2018)

Torpedo (PUB)
Rostockgata 28, 0191 Oslo


Wed – Sun 12pm – 5pm

The Situationist Times: Same Player Shoots Again! unfolds the material assembled by de Jong and her co-editor Hans Brinkman in the early 1970s for a seventh, unrealized issue devoted to pinball. The documents – here presented to the public for the first time – testify to an extensive investigation of the culture and topology of pinball – arguably the quintessential situationist game. In collaboration with Koosje Ruigrok, Jacqueline de Jong has produced a special pinball wallpaper for the exhibition. The show also features a free-play electro-mechanical pinball machine by courtesy of Oslo Pinball Club.

Additionally, the exhibition provides a rare opportunity to browse original copies the Situationist Times 1-6. A digital interface developed by the Scandinavian Institute for Computational Vandalism invites you to navigate the riches of the magazine, its labyrinths, knots and controversies, as well as browse through the issues together with de Jong, who tells stories of their making in a series of newly produced video clips.

The Situationist Times: Same Player Shoots Again! inaugurates PUB, a project space run by Torpedo and Eller med a in Rostockgata 28, Oslo.

The exhibition is curated by Ellef Prestsæter and Torpedo and produced in collaboration with Konsthall Malmö and Museum Jorn. It forms part of These are Situationist Times, an exhibition, digitization and publication project developed by Torpedo and Ellef Prestsæter, in close collaboration with Jacqueline de Jong and generously supported by Nordic Culture Point and the Norwegian Arts Council. The Jacqueline de Jong Papers, including the archives of the Situationist Times, is held at Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, Yale University.

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182 – Destruktion af RSG-6 – Burned copy [1963]

INTERNATIONALE SITUATIONNISTEDestruktion af RSG-6 – En kollektiv manifestation af Situationistisk Internationale. Odense: Galerie Exi, n.d. [1963]. 28 p.; ill.; 25 x 18 cm; ill. White wrappers with text in black and red. This copy damaged by fire and water.

Original catalog of the Internationale Situationniste exhibition held at Galerie EXI in Odense, Denmark between June 22 and July 7, 1963. For our earlier post about a “regular” (undamaged) copy, see here.

This catalog is particularly scarce because most copies were destroyed on March 18, 1965, when a bomb exploded in Situationist J.V. Martin’s house in Randers, Denmark during a demonstration against NATO. Søren Kanstrup, a member of the Danish Communist Party and former East German spy, was arrested for this crime. While Situationists believed that Stalinists had allied with the police to dismantle the SI’s growing influence, the case was never solved and Kanstrup motivations remain unclear to this day. More detail about this incident be found in issue 10 of Internationale Situationniste (“L’I.S. et les incidents de Randers” ; English: “The SI and the incidents in Randers”). Some of the picture below (courtesy of Copenhagen Free University) showcase coverage of the bombing by the Danish press.

Our copy is among a handful that were salvaged from Martin’s apartment following its near-complete destruction. The fire (but also the water used to put it out) resulted in visible damage, particularly to the wrappers. However, somewhat miraculously, this copy remains complete and the text fully legible.

Gonzalvez 119. Raspaud 115-116

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Society of the Spectacle (Charles Radcliffe’s copy) [1970]

Debord, Guy. The Society of the SpectacleDetroit: Black & Red, 1970. First English edition, first printing (1970). n.p. [120p.].; 21.5 x 13.5 cm.; B&W ill. wrappers.  Charles Radcliffe’s copy, with his ownership signature to title page and brief pencilled notes to last page.

Charles Radcliffe was a member of the English section of the Situationist International from December 1966 to November 1967. Guy Debord did not view Radcliffe’s contributions to the SI in a favorable light. In a letter to Robert Chasse dated 23 December 1967, he writes that “Radcliffe n’avait rigoureusement rien fait en dix-huit mois, et finalement avait amicalement formule sa démission a Chris…” (English: Radcliffe had done literally nothing in eighteen months, and had eventually handed his resignation to Chris [Gray] (Corrrespondance vol. 0, p. 338). Prior to joining the SI, Radcliffe had edited the short-lived but influential magazine Heatwave (1966-1967). The publication is lauded in the pamphlet De la Misère en Milieu Etudiant (On the Poverty of Student Life) in 1966: “One thinks here of the excellent journal Heatwave, which seems to be evolving toward an increasingly rigorous radicality”

Radcliffe maintains a website, which includes a short biographical sketch and links to his writings (http://charlieradcliffe.com/biography/).Radcliffe authored a (now sold-out) autobiography: Don’t Start Me Talkin’” – The Story of a Sixties Scapegrace.

Provenance: Charles Radcliffe, through the trade

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La Societe du Spectacle [1967] – Raoul Vaneigem’s copy

Debord, Guy. La Société du Spectacle. Paris: Buchet-Chastel, 1967. First edition, first printing (4eme trimestre 1967). 176 p.; 20.5 x 14 cm; White cover with text in black. Housed in a half-morocco slipcase black-lined with suede (Devauchelle), gilt-lettered spine.

Raoul Vaneigem’s copy, as evidenced by his signature on the half-title page. Laid-in is a small index card where Vaneigem writes: “D[ebord] – Ns avons tjrs progressé parallèlement, sans contact réel, sans affinité. Que mon indifférence à son égard ressemble désormais à un mépris amusé ne devrait pas changer le
processus.” In English: “D[ebord] – we have always followed parallel paths, without any true connection, without any intimacy. That my indifference towards him has now morphed into amused contempt should not change much”. On the back of the same index card is a short note by Jeppesen Martin, confirming the place and time of a meeting with Vaneigem.

Provenance: Raoul Vaneigem, through the trade.

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Dans le décor spectaculaire…[Typescript]

[INTERNATIONALE SITUATIONNISTE]. Dans le décor spectaculaire ou le regard ne contre que les choses et leur prixn.p.: n.p., n.d. [1967]. 3 loose sheets; 21.5 x 27.5 cm.; black ink on white stock.

Original typescript of the scenario for Andre Bertrand and Gerard Joannes’ detourned comics (see below), which served to announce the release of Internationale Situationniste #11. The unsigned text is attributed to Raoul Vaneigem.

As noted by Raspaud (120-21), two different versions of this poster were released in December 1967, each with a similar text but illustrated with different comics. The other version is the work of Gerard Johannes, and is reproduced by Gonzalvez (136).

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Aux Poubelles de l’Histoire [1963]

INTERNATIONALE SITUATIONNISTE. Aux Poubelles de l’Histoire. Paris: Internationale Situationniste, 21 February 1963. Broadside, 94 x 64 cm. (folded to 47 x 32 cm.); black ink on white stock.

Large broadside issued by the Situationist International, collectively signed by the members of the Central Council (Michèle Bernstein, Guy Debord, Attila Kotanyl, Uwe Lausen, J. V. Martin, Jan Strijbosch, Alexander Trocchi, Raoul Vaneigem). It is comprised of two texts: 1) “Sur la commune″ (in English: “Theses on the Commune”), from 18 March 1962, signed by signed by Debord, Kotanyi et Vaneigem; and 2) “La signification de la commune″ (in English: “The Meaning of the Commune”) by Henri Lefebvre, published in the last issue of the Marxist periodical Arguments in late 1962 / early 1963. The two texts are shown next to one another, showcasing Lefebvre’s plagiarism of Situationist ideas. “Aux Poubelles de l’Histoire” is later reprinted in Internationale Situationniste 12, pp. 108-111.

This was not the first time the Situationist International had written against Arguments. In 1960, in Internationale Situationniste 5, the Council of the SI states that anyone who is found collaborating with Arguments from January 1, 1961 onwards is ineligible to join the group (see http://juralibertaire.over-blog.com/article-aux-poubelles-de-l-histoire-42294891.html). Likewise, Henri Lefebvre had been attacked by the SI numerous times before.

Raspaud 115. We locate 3 copies on OCLC (BnF, Jacques Doucet, Yale).

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