Guy Debord – Original Correspondence with Magali [Clement] [1993]

Debord, Guy and Becker-Ho, Alice. [CORRESPONDENCE] Signed autograph postcard dated 01/10/[1993]. Not in Correspondance

Original correspondence between Guy Debord, Alice Becker-Ho, and Magali [Clement].

FRONT: Black and white photograph of “Le Minour – Champot”, Guy Debord’s rural residence. “Since 1974, Guy Debord had owned a cottage in the heart of Auvergne, next to Bellevue-la-Montagne, in an isolated hamlet known as Champot. The house is called Le Minour. As part of a housewarming celebration, a friend designs a postcard that will be circulated among close friends for the years to come” (Bourseiller 348, translation is mine). This is the postcard used here, part of this stash designed for Debord and his friends.

BACK: “Dear Magali. We watched your documentary – it’s always a pleasure to see Jeanne and her house again! Did the copy of ‘Cette Mauvaise Reputation’ sent to Ver-sur-Mer reach you? The address was a bit short, but I thought that your fame would help…I will call you as soon as we get to Normandy, in the first days of January. Warm embraces to you, Jeanne, and the others. Alice, Guy.”

Magali Clément was a friend of Guy Debord and Alice Becker-Ho. She was the daughter of Jeanne Clément, who had a restaurant in Paris, where Guy and Alice used to have dinner. Jeanne had a house near Champot where her daughter – Magali – directed the documentary “La Maison de Jeanne” (1988). She died in 2008, at age 60.

UPDATE: According to Andy Merrifield, Bourseiller was mistaken regarding the ownership of “Le Minour”, which was the property of Eugene Becker-Ho, Alice Debord’s brother.

 

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Formulary for a New Urbanism – two versions [2016]

[Chtcheglov, Ivan]. [Formulaire pour un Urbanisme Nouveau] Formulary for a New Urbanism – The Orderly Version. n.p. [Seattle, WA]: Oblivion Books, n.d. [2016].  Two-sided poster; 50 x 76 cm.. Offset-printed in black and red on 100 lb. white cover stock. Limited to 100 copies. The typography and layout by Fredrik Averin appropriates the celebrated psychogeographic “Naked City” map of Paris by Guy Debord (1957).

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[Chtcheglov, Ivan]. [Formulaire pour un Urbanisme Nouveau] Formulary for a New Urbanism – The Disorderly Version. n.p. [Seattle, WA]: Oblivion Books, n.d. [2016].  One-sided poster; 50 x 76 cm.. Hand-silk-screened in three colors on 100 lb. white cover stock. Limited to 75 numbered copies, 10 of which lettered A-L and signed by Averin and Guerriero (our copy “K”). The typography and layout by Fredrik Averin are inspired by the dynamic typography and advertising images appropriated by Asger Jorn and Guy Debord for their infamous book collaboration Fin de Copenhague (1957).

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From the publisher:

Heliotrope Institute and Oblivion Books present Ivan Chtcheglov’s “The Formulary for a New Urbanism” in a limited edition broadside format. “Formulary for a New Urbanism” was composed by Ivan Chtcheglov under the pseudonym Gilles Ivain when he was 19 years old. It was an internal document adopted by the Letterist International in October 1953. The “Formulary” also served as a poetic and theoretical foundation for the Situationist International, appearing in the first issue of their journal in June 1958. This visionary text set the tone for the themes that preoccupied Guy Debord and the Situationist International in their early “aesthetic” phase: a re-envisioning of all aspects of urbanism, the playful bodily practice of the drift, the rejection of prescribed uses of urban space and structures, the creation of transient and modifiable architectural forms, and the total transformation of everyday life to correspond with the pleasures and desires of the individual. Abridged by Guy Debord for the Situationist journal, here the “Formulary” has been edited to broadside form by Edward Guerriero for Oblivion Books. Reverently produced and overseen by Asher Dinn and Eddie Lee Sausage of Heliotrope Institute.

 

Interlude: Video from Red Victorian talk

On March 28, 2017 I gave a talk at the Red Victorian in San Francisco:

“Spectacular Commodities: A History of the Situationist International through its Cultural Productions”

I am happy to report that the talk has been recorded (unfortunately, the first 5-7 minutes are cut out) and now available to view here

The video was also uploaded to YouTube and is available here

More posts coming soon — I am currently moving my collection from the East to the West Coast and will resume posting sometime this summer.

Banalidades de Base [1972]

Vaneigem, Raoul. [Banalites de Base] Banalidades de Base. Coimbra (Portugal): Livraria Almedina, 1972. 66 p.; 11.5 x 18 cm.; ill. cover with text in black.

First Portuguese edition. Translation and preface by Jose Mario Gomes.

The French text was first published in issue 7 and 8 Internationale situationniste (1962-1963) and was widely reproduced and translated thereafter.

We locate no copy in the trade or on OCLC.

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For a Situationist Revolution / Movement for a New Society [1977]

[Great Atlantic Radio Conspiracy]. For a Situationist Revolution / Movement for a New Society. 1 two-sided cassette tape; 10.5 x 6.5 x 1 cm.; 60 min. Red sleeve with text in black.

Cassette tape that contains two 30-min segments from “the Great Atlantic Radio Conspiracy” (GARC), an Anarchist-inspired radio show that aired on WBJC-FM from 1972 to 1992. Howard Ehrlich, a Sociologist and the Founder of ‘Research Group One’, was the driving force behind the weekly program, which presented alternative perspectives on a variety of subjects.

Regarding this particularly tape, Ford explains: “‘Although quite different, both of these groups are examples of contemporary anarchism. The first [The S.I.] was perhaps one of the most exciting and theoretically fascinating movements of our time, playing an important role in France 1968. M.N.S. [Movement for a New Society] is a non-violent, decentralized federating of living and working groups in American cities. The tactics and strategies of each group are discussed.’ *Reference from AK Distribution 1993 catalogue [222], p. 57.” (Ford 175)

Ford 175. Gray (“Action Art: A Bibliography of Artists’ Performance from Futurism to Fluxus”) 142. We locate no copy on OCLC or in the trade.

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Le Jeu de la Guerre [Board game] (1977)

[Debord, Guy]. Le Jeu de la GuerreParis: Les Jeux stratégiques et historiques, 1977 [but 1978?]. White cardboard box; 36 x 28.5 x 3.5 cm. First “commercial” edition after a limited metal edition (3 or 4 copies).

This is the only copy we have seen in the trade or at auction. We locate a single OCLC copy at the BnF in Paris, part of Guy Debord’s archive.

Physical description

The box contains:

Game rule: 23 p.; 22 x 26 cm.; black ink on white stock
Game board: 55.5 x 44 cm.; black and white squares
Games pieces: 34 round-shaped wooden pieces

Inspiration

The Game of War is a Clausewitz simulator: a Napoleonic-era military strategy game where armies must maintain their communications structure to survive – and where victory is achieved by smashing your opponent’s supply network rather than by taking their pieces.

 

Game history

Le Jeu de la Guerre (The Game of War) is Guy Debord’s foray into the world of war games. In 1965, he filed a patent for Kriegspiel, which he had invented in the 1950s. In 1977, Guy Debord and Gerard Lebovici created a new company – “Les Jeux Strategiques et Historiques” (Strategic and Historical Games) – for the sole purpose of commercializing Le Jeu de la Guerre. The same year, three or four metal prototypes with silver-plated copper tokens are produced by Mr. Raoult, a Parisian artisan.

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Although a commercial edition was to be released in 1977, it faced delays: “By the end of June, 1978…Debord finished drafting a written copy of the game rules. ‘I am sending you the rules soon,’ he wrote to Lebovici.’ The juridico-geometric writing style has cost me innumerable headaches.’ (source). In 1978 – but perhaps several years later – a hand-crafted trade edition is released. While it is unclear how many copies were produced, it is believed to have been a “very small number”: the game quickly sold out, and was not re-released for over two decades (source).

In 1987, Editions Gerard Lebovici released the book Le Jeu de la Guerre: Relevé des positions successives de toutes les forces au cours d’une partie, the annotated account of a single game between Debord and his wife, Alice Becker-Ho. Alexander Galloway, an NYU scholar who has been researching Le Jeu de la Guerre for many years, believes that Debord played South (source). The book was re-released by Gallimard in 2006 but, just like the 1987 edition, it did not include the actual game.

It was not until 2007 that Atlas edition published the first English translation of the book, the work of Donald Nicholson-Smith. This was also the first edition (since the original release) “to be accompanied by a game-board and counters allowing readers to play “at home” according to the rules given.” (source)

In 2008, a computer version of the game was made available for free by the N.Y.U-based Radical Software Group, or RSG, under the original name Kriegspiel. According to RSG, this was”an attempt to reinterpret Debord’s ideas in the contemporary landscape, while maintaining a fidelity to his original thinking.” (source). The same  year, however, Debord’s widow sent cease-and-desist letters requesting that Kriegspiel be taken off-line. The game is now shown on the RSG website as “relaunching soon” (source).

Today, The Game of War is played around the world. Class Wargames regularly schedules gaming events, and even created a 27-minute film inspired by the Game of War (see here)

Game overview

The game uses a mapboard containing 500 squares (25 x 20) divided in two by a border line. Each territory has 2 arsenal squares, 3 fortress squares, and 9 mountain squares (blocking movement,shooting and communication lines). Setup of units (infantry, cavalry, artillery, horse artillery) is free and secret. At his turn, each player may move up to 5 units and/or attack. Aim of the game is to completely destroy the enemy or conquer his 2 arsenals. No dice: combats are resolved taking into account the attack/defense ratios of the opponents (unit retreats from -1, and is destroyed from -2) Communication lines are critical. (source)

More detailed rules available at RSG 

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Sources

The New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2008/05/05/war-games-4

Liberation: http://www.liberation.fr/ecrans/2008/03/17/le-wargame-de-guy-debord-in-situ_67435?page=article

RSG: http://r-s-g.org/kriegspiel/about.php

Board Game Geek: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/27323/le-jeu-de-la-guerre

Etienne Mineur: http://www.my-os.net/blog/index.php?2012/08/01/1660-le-jeu-de-la-guerre-un-wargame-de-guy-debord

Atlas Press: https://www.atlaspress.co.uk/index.cgi?action=view_eclectic&number=5

Class Wargames: http://www.classwargames.net/?p=1636

[Interlude] PSA: Spectacular Commodities: A History of the Situationist International through its Cultural Productions

For those in the Bay Area, I will be giving a talk about the SI — details below. I would love to see you there if you are able to make it!

“Spectacular Commodities: A History of the Situationist International through its Cultural Productions”

Tuesday, March 28, 8-10pm

Red Victorian (Great Room), 1665 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117
Founded in 1957, the Internationale Situationniste was one of the foremost Post-war European avant-gardes. Its leader, Guy Debord, posited that “in modern societies… everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation.” The opening sentence of Debord’s Society of the Spectacle (1967) encapsulates the Situationsists’ unique take on traditional Marxo-Hegelianism. To Debord, the cause of workers’ alienation is not lack of agency (as Marx believed); rather, in modern societies, it happens because social interactions are mediated by (distorted) images.

Situationists rejected the accumulation of material goods, denouncing cultural productions – books, paintings, etc. – as expressions of a reactionary bourgeois ethos. The concept of copyright was viewed as anti-revolutionary: the S.I.’s eponymous journal opens with a statement that “all texts published in Internationale Situationniste may be reproduced, translated, or adapted without indication of origin.” Many took the “Situs” at their word – their writings were hastily photocopied and distributed around the world, often without any acknowledgement. Yet, the movement’s legacy can be traced and understood through the artifacts it left behind. From Guy Debord and Asger Jorn’s famed artist books Memoires (bound in a single sheet of abrasive sandpaper) and Fin de Copenhague (which was conceived using stolen newspapers) to Ralph Rumney’s psychogeographic photonovella The Leaning Tower of Venice, the Situationists created some of the boldest, most forward-looking material of their time.

This talk will provide an introduction to the Internationale Situationniste by looking at its most important cultural productions. It will also address some of the complications inherent with physical items that actively reject their own materiality. Some original documents will be made available (expects lots of visuals!). No prior knowledge of the Situationits or related movements is expected or necessary.

 

RSVP (optional) at https://embassynetwork.com/locations/redvic/events/605/red-vic-lecturesthe-situationists-and-society-of-t/

 

[Interlude] PSA: The New Situationists exhibition at ProArts in Oakland, CA (through April 28, 2017)

If you are in the Bay Area, I highly encourage you check out this one-of-a-kind exhibition – the first on the “Post-situationist” movement in the United States. Features some items from Situationnisteblog’s collection! More at https://proartsgallery.org/event/the-new-situationists/

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The New Situationists

Exhibition Dates: March 3 – April 28, 2017

The New Situationists  is the first major survey of Bay Area avant-garde art and countercultural activities, influenced by the ideas, theory and techniques of the Situationist International movement (1957 – 1972). The Situationists aimed for integration of art and life, and worked to critique consumer capitalism and mediated experience. At their core, they challenged the idea of ‘art.’ It would be traditional to present this work in 2018, a tidy 50th Anniversary celebration, as one does for institutions like monarchs, museums, fast food chains, and your grandparents’ marriage. The New Situationists is literally avant-garde in that it is occurring in 2017, a year prior to the semi-centennial of Situationism’s acme.

Situationist Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle predicted the Trump Age. Many of the works in the show critique authoritarian and capitalist politics. Others demonstrate the Situationist technique of détournement, in print, sound, media, and performance. The New Situationists also include artists whose work challenge the primacy of the art object, and will engage in social projects, creating “new situations” in the public sphere of Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, also known as Oscar Grant Plaza, site of much civic protest as well the operations of the City of Oakland’s government. The exhibition features work from the 1970s to the present.

Our hope is that a brief history of past Bay Area provocations, actions and interventions will incite a new generation of artists, who will look into the past in attempt to dismantle, fight, and subvert the present. Looking back is looking forward.

Today, the tradition of the Situationists marches on.

Join us!

Participating Artists: Art Strike’s Back, Craig Baldwin,  Billboard Liberation Front, Evan Bissell, L.M. Bogad, Packard Jennings, Negativland, Stephanie Rothenberg, Kal Spelletich, and Winston Smith.

From the Archives: Council for the Eruption of the Marvelous, Point Blank, Processed World, Cacophony Society, Suicide Club, Plagiarism Festival 1988, The Washington Hillbillaries: The A Teams 1993, Council for the Eruption of the Marvelous, Call It Sleep, The Urban Rats, Ken Knabb/Bureau of Public Secrets, La société du spectacle (1st edition, 3rd printing,) Internationale Situationniste (revue, issue #9,) Pour le Pouvoir des Conseils Ouvriers, Original poster from May ’68 French student protests, and more…

Performances & Actions: Shelley Harrison, Alexander Brown, Guillermo Galindo, ReadyMaids (Anna Muselmann and Rachael Cleveland), Chris Treggiari & Peter Foucault, Finishing School, WIGband, L.M. Bogad, Si-si Dance & Performance Art Project, Krista DeNio & Stephanie DeMott, and being_sound.

Talks: Howard Besser, Chris Carlsson, Ken Knabb, Stephen Perkins, Konrad Steiner, and V. Vale

The New Situationists Podcast: Isaac Cronin on The Brilliant. The Brilliant podcast is a way to have a deeper conversations than allowed in the text boxes of websites.

Special Screenings: Guy Debord, Keith J. Sanborn, and Craig Baldwin (co-presented in partnership with Black Hole Cinematheque and Canyon Cinema.)

Pro Arts YouTube Channel: Spetsai by Yann Beauvais; FOX News TV with Kal Spelletich; Culture Jam Highjacking Commercial Culture Full Movie; Call It Sleep by Isaac Cronin and Terrel Seltzer; Stephen Perkins in ‘If…’ and more…

Reading Room: Videos, archival materials, books, pamphlets, flyers and print-outs. Special selection of books and pamphlets for sale by Little Black Cart.

Special Events: We Know You are There by bivoulab (Archimedia) and Derive App & Action by Eduardo Cachucho & Babak Fakhamzadeh.

Détournements: A Guided Exhibition Audio Tour by Benj Gerdes & Jennifer Hayashida and Cyber-Exhibition, curated by Extremely Good Shit at Pro Arts’ Blog.

Curators/Provocateurs: Natalia Ivanova Mount & Sarah Lockhart

Major Contributors of Archival Materials/Exhibition Collaborators: Chris Carlsson, Isaac Cronin, Ken Knabb, John Law, Scott MacLeod, and Mehdi El Hajoui. THANK YOU!

Must visit: Situationniste Blog (Mehdi El Hajoui) ; Bureau of Public Secrets ; Found SF ; Stewart Home ; Other Cinema ; Otherzine.

[Interlude] PSA: 1968: Beneath the Paving Stones, the Beach Festival + Symposium (Feb 2018)

WOUNDED GALAXIES
1968: Beneath the Paving Stones, the Beach
Festival + Symposium

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Feb 8-10, 2018
Indiana University  

Call for Papers

The Sixties were a turbulent period, characterized by major revolutions in scholarship, politics, culture and the arts.  Indiana University, in conjunction with The Burroughs Century, plans an academic symposium welcoming scholars, archivists, filmmakers, and others interested in exploring the intellectual and aesthetic legacy of 1968, during its 50th anniversary year.  The conference will be held on the beautiful Bloomington, Indiana campus and will be hosted by Indiana University’s Media School; the Indiana University Libraries (including the Lilly Library and the IU Libraries Moving Image Archive); and Indiana University Cinema, which has earned an international reputation for the high quality of its facilities and programming.

Accompanying the symposium will be a series of films and an exhibition featuring rare and unique items from the IU Library collection. Renowned scholars such as Greil Marcus McKenzie Wark, and, possibly, Penelope Rosemont are expected to give talks, introduce films, and appear in Q&A sessions following screenings.

In addition, we are planning an art exhibit, as well as series of experimental music performances and spoken word presentations, in keeping with the larger theme of radical aesthetics.  We plan to publish the conference proceedings.

Interested participants are invited to submit paper proposals on any aspect of the international history and cultural legacy of 1968.  Papers need not be limited to any particular critical, theoretical, historical, or political subject or method. We hope to receive proposals that deal with previously unexplored issues, but we are also interested in proposals that offer fresh approaches to much-discussed work.  As the symposium title suggests, we are using the Situationists as a point of departure and particularly welcome presentations that consider the revolutionary potential of the Everyday—in both historical and contemporary situations.

But we are happy to consider any proposals that address the historical legacy of 1968, and welcome submissions that attempt to trace the legacy of 68 in contemporary art and culture.

Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • history and historiography of 1968;
  • the post-1968 generation and terrorism;
  • post ’68 science fiction;
  • anthropology and the Situationists;
  • architecture after ’68;
  • counter/sub-cultures after ’68;
  • literature and literary theory;
  • The Annales school and radical shifts in historiography
  • Marshall McLuhan and the electronic revolution
  • The history and legacy of the Black Panther Party
  • Chicago 1968
  • The International Student Movement(s)
  • Revolution and the University
  • Prague Spring – experimental & avant-garde art, film, literature & music made during this period of freedom; the avant-garde going underground during Normalization; lingering impacts of Prague Spring on experimental & avant-garde art/music/lit/etc.
  • Surrealisms outside France – the internationalization of surrealism that happened in the late-60s onward (U.S., African surrealisms, Poland’s “Orange Alternative”, etc.)
  • Neo-Dada and Fluxus
  • French New Wave cinema and its response to the events of Mai-
  • Third Cinema(s)
  • East vs. West perspectives: pro-socialist avant-gardes in the West Europe versus anti-socialist avant-gardes in East Europe

Proposals should be limited to 300 words in length and consist of a brief description of the paper’s theme or focus, plus a one-page vita. Proposals may be submitted for individual papers or for sessions featuring two or three panelists. Proposals for panels should be submitted as a group by the organizer, along with a short explanation of the unifying theme. In addition, each panel proposal should consist of individual paper descriptions (limited to 300 words in length), names of panelists and their vitae.

Please email your proposals to Joan Hawkins jchawkin@indiana.edu, by July 1, 2017. The Symposium Program Committee will evaluate all submissions and notify all candidates of the results by Aug 1, 2017. . We look forward to your proposals, and to celebrating/reevaluating the legacy of international political and aesthetic upheaval.

Toutes ces dames au salon [1956] – expanded version

Now with an addition – the tract and letter that were sent to the original signatories! Thanks Jasper for sending this.

[Internationale Lettriste et al.]. Toutes ces dames au salon!. Paris / Bruxelles: Internationale Lettriste / Les Lèvres Nues, [late 1956]. Single-side leaflet; 38 x 37 cm.; black ink on cream stock.

Violent manifesto against the exhibition “L’Industrie du pétrole vue par des artistes” (“The Oil Industry as seen by artists”) held June 2-14, 1956 in the Palais des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles and sponsored by oil giant Shell.

The leaflet visionary in that it calls out rampant corporate sponsorship in the arts: “Que la Royal Dutch-Shell aujourd’hui, demain Coca-Cola ou les Saucisses de Francfort, ambitionnent les lauriers de Laurent de Medicis, voila qui n’étonnera guère. Il n’est pas un seul marchand de canons qui ne se double d’un philanthrope…” (“That the Royal Dutch-Shell today, Coca-Cola or Frankfurt Sausages tomorrow, wish to emulate Laurent de Medicis, this should surprise no one. There’s not a single weapon dealer that is not also a philantropist”)

Participanting artists are lambasted – they are the dames (i.e., whores) mentioned in the title – and a full list of these “sell-outs” is provided to readers.

The manifesto is signed by members of the Lettrist International (Michèle Bernstein, Mohamed Dahou, Guy Debord, Jacques Fillon, Alexander Trocchi, Gil J. Wolman), the review Les Lèvres nues (Paul Bourgoignie, Jane Graverol, Marcel Mariën, Paul Nougé, Gilbert Senecaut), the Nuclear Art Movement (Enrico Baj, Sergio Dangelo, Asger Jorn) and several independent artists (Ernest Carlier, Paul Joostens, Herbert Read).

We locate 3 OCLC copies (Yale, BNF, Getty) of this important document.

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Addendum:

A fellow Situ-phile communicated to us the following document, which provide great context:

Marien, Marcel and Nouge, PaulChere Madame, Cher Monsieur, Cher ami…. Bruxelles, 19 June 1956. 1 p. letter; 21 x 29 cm.; faint purple ink on cream stock.

Letter by Marien and Nouge to the potential signatories of the tract “Toutes ces dames au salon”, which as published later that year. Individuals are urged to respond by June 24 [1956], either by returning a signed copy or by explaining the reason(s) behind their refusal to endorse this tract.

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[Internationale Lettriste et al.]. Toutes ces dames au salon!. Paris / Bruxelles: Internationale Lettriste / Les Lèvres Nues, [June 1956]. Single-side leaflet;  black ink on cream stock.

Preliminary version of the tract, which was communicated to potential signatories for their endorsement.

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