[PSA] London Psychogeographical Association Newsletter PDFs now online

London Psychogeographical Association. London Psychogeographical Association NewsletterLondon, UK: East London Section of the London Psychogeographical Society, 1995-2000. 21 x 29.5 cm.; B&W ill.; plain white paper with text printed in black.

The full text of the LPA is now available at  http://www.mediafire.com/file/g1sghc2xgbmybw1/LPA_Newsletter.pdf/file

“This PDF file contains scans of the near complete series of the 4-paged East London Section’s London Psychogeographical Association Newsletter (ELPAN) – originally self-published in the United Kingdom between Imbolc 1993 and Tahbrain 399 – plus its occasional extra inserts. No.20 and “the last mailing” mentioned on p.4 of No.21 are missing. If anyone can supply scans of one or all of these (preferably as a
300dpi PDF file) it would be greatly appreciated, and added to this PDF file to
complete the set. Please send to Mark Reeve at: mark-reeve@hotmail.com” (p.1)

The London Psychogeographical Association (LPA) was originally founded by Ralph Rumney in 1957, but never disbanded. In the 1990s, Fabian Tompsett (under the pseudonym of Richard Essex), resurrected the long-dormant group as the LPA East London Section. Like Transgressions and the Manchester Psychogeographical Association – which were also active around the same time – the LPA rejected the orthodox Situationist vision of psychogeography, engaging instead in “Magico-marxism” and similar approaches. Beyond its publications, the LPA sponsored psychogeographical trips, which were advertised in its newsletter.

LPA newsletters are rare, with only 3 OCLC full sets (National Library of Scotland, British Library, Oxford) and one partial set (NYU – issues 1,2,7). We have in our possession all issues except #20.

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Pompe le Mousse [1982]

[Laurendeau, Pierre] Hurl Barbe (pseud.). Pompe le MousseParis: Editions de la Brigandine, April 1982. 188 p.; 18 x 10 cm. Ill. cover with photography of a half-naked woman.

Published under the pseudonym of Hurl Barbe, this pornographic novel is the work of Pierre Laurendeau. A minor writer, Laurendeau also wrote under the pen names ‘Jules Veine” and “Pierre Charmoz.

The novels tells the story of two young women – Alice and her sister Juliette – who get booted out of Catholic school and meander the world. They first hitchhike to Paris, which they reach on May 10, 1968, and go straight to the barricades in the Latin Quarter. There, they meet “Guy Retord” (i.e., Debord), “Gianfranco Spaghetti” (i.e., Sanguinetti) and “Raoul van Houten” (i.e., Vaneigem) – the theoricians of a mysterious “Internationale de Sisyphe”. The castof characters grows to include a perverted Italian magnate, his deviant brother who drank from the fountain of youth, a depraved Jesuit priest, a deserter from the 19th century and more…Together, this ragtag crew moves from place to place, including submarines and deserted islands, in search of a mysterious treasure…

We locate a single copy on OCLC, at the Bibliotheque Nationale de France.

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Long out of print, a second edition was released under the auspices of Jean-Jacques Gevaudan (“Sous la Cape”) in December 2013. It is available on the publishers’ website: http://www.souslacape.fr/livres/fiche_livre/242. Further, a full PDF version of the text can downloaded free of charge here: http://www.deleatur.fr/download.php?fichier=web_pompe.pdf

A third edition was released by erotica publisher “La Musardine” in 2016. “Pompe le Mousse” it is reprinted alongside two other novels from editions La Brigandine.  It can be ordered here: http://www.lamusardine.com/P30905-trois-autres-romans-de-la-brigandine-lotka-francis-guez-eric-barbe-hurl.html

Asger Jorn’s “Modifications” [1959]

[JORN, Asger]. Modifications: R.A. Augustinci présente vingt peintures modifiées par ASGER JORN. n.p. [Paris]: n.p. [Galerie Rive Gauche], n.d. [May 1959]. n.p. [16 p. + 4 p.]; ill.; 21 x 18.5 cm.; ill. cover reproducing one of Jorn’s detourned paintings.

Catalog of Asger Jorn’s famed “Modifications” show, which was held under the auspices of R.A. Augustinci at the galerie Rive Gauche in Paris between 6 and 28 May 1959. Twenty paintings were exhibited, nine of which are reproduced here (one in color, serving as the catalog’s cover, and eight in B&W).

Stapled inside is a four-page, French-language text printed on thick yellow stock: “Peinture détournée” (detourned painting). In this short essay, Jorn celebrates the death of painting and advocates for detournement in the visual arts. The text is reproduced in full, both in French and in an English translation, here: http://viemoderne2.blogspot.com/2006/08/peinture-dtourne-jorn-mai-1959.html

The catalog has been scanned and reproduced in full by Allia – see http://www.editions-allia.com/files/pdf_72_file.pdf. The document is preceded by a one-page introduction that sheds further light on this exhibition and its importance in the history of the Internationale Situationniste. Indeed, the galerie Rive Gauche show is mentioned in Debord’s correspondence (in a letter dated 7 June 1959, he congratulates Jorn on the ‘serious shock’ the exhibition caused) and discussed in Potlatch #30 (July 1959).

Our copy is unique in that someone (perhaps the gallery owner?) wrote down in black pen the names of the collectors who acquired Jorn’s paintings. Augustinci appeared to have bought a single painting, while Italian modern art collector Paolo Marinotti snagged five. Paride Accetti, a lawyer who also collected Baj, got another three.

Scarce in the trade, with about a dozen copies on OCLC

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[Interlude] PSA: The Most Dangerous Game – exhibition at Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin (27 Sept – 10 Dec. 2018)

If you are in Berlin, I highly encourage you check out The Most Dangerous Game: Der Weg der Situationistischen Internationale in den Mai 68, to be held at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt between 27 September and 10 December 2018. The exhibition is a project of Wolfgang Scheppe,in collaboration with Roberto Ohrt and Eleonora Sovrani.

Press Release

Between 1957 and 1972, the Situationist International (S.I.) first projected a “revolutionary front in culture” and then shifted its propaganda to the political field. Employing ludic methods, the movement offered a fundamental critique of the spectacle of a consumerist society. In an age in which the principles of the market economy are increasingly permeating all areas of life, The Most Dangerous Game instigates a new envisioning of the years in which the S.I. articulated its critique.

The exhibition’s title refers to a lost collage created by one of S.I.’s co-founders, Guy Debord. The title recalls, on the one hand, the revolutionary earnestness with which the S.I. radicalized the debates of the postwar years, while, on the other hand, emphasizing the playful element that characterized all their diverse activities. Their ‘playing field’ was the city and everyday life. It was here that they sought confrontation with the bourgeois system – aesthetically through the “construction of situations”, and theoretically through precise analyses of modern consumerist society.

The exhibition’s starting-point is the Bibliothèque situationniste de Silkeborg, a venture that Debord drafted in outline with the painter Asger Jorn in 1959 for the latter’s museum in Denmark. At HKW, this project, which remained unrealized in its day, is for the first time constructed in its entirety. An Archive of Last Images presents for the first time works by all artists active during the initial S.I. period.

The exhibition thematizes the break away from art created around 1962 – when the S.I. distanced itself from those members who wished to adhere to a primarily artistic creative praxis – and follows the activities of the S.I. up to and including the May 1968 uprising in France, in which the S.I. played an essential part. The revolt was stifled after only a few weeks. Bourgeois society, however, appropriated the themes of the insurgent younger generation and subsequently subjected all areas of life – including sexuality – to capitalist ends and exploitation.

The Most Dangerous Game at Haus der Kulturen der Welt ties into the discussion of Surrealism in the exhibition Neolithic Childhood. Art in a False Present, c. 1930, the remapping of post-war modernism in Parapolitics. Cultural Freedom and Cold War, and revolutionary Russia’s progressively aspirational melding of art and science in Art Without Death: Russian Cosmism. The exhibition The Most Dangerous Game draws lines that the project bauhaus imaginista takes up in 2019, exploring the influence of and roles played by the Bauhaus in an international context.

With works by Pierre Alechinsky, Karel Appel, Armando, Enrico Baj, CoBrA, Constant, Corneille, Guy Debord, Erwin Eisch, Ansgar Elde, Farfa, Lothar Fischer, Internationale Lettriste, Internationale Situationniste, Isidore Isou, Jacqueline de Jong, Asger Jorn, Laboratorio Sperimentale, Uwe Lausen, Jeppesen Victor Martin, Giors Melanotte, Eva Renée Nele, Erik Nyholm, Panamarenko, Giuseppe Pinot-Gallizio, Hans Platschek, Heimrad Prem, Ralph Rumney, Piero Simondo, Gruppe SPUR, Gretel Stadler, Hardy Strid, Helmut Sturm, Maurice Wyckaert and Hans-Peter Zimmer.

For more information see https://www.hkw.de/en/presse/pressemitteilungen/pressemitteilung_142772.php

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Sigma 2 – Invisible Insurrection of a Million Minds [1964]

TROCCHI, ALEXANDER. Sigma 2 – Invisible Insurrection of a million mindsLondon: Sigma, 1964. 8 mimeographed p.; 20.5 x 33 cm.; black ink on white stock.

Trocchi meets Guy Debord in Paris in 1955,  and joins the Internationale Situationniste in 1958. In 1960, he publishes Cain’s book, which offers an apology of drugs and particularly heroin. For this, he was arrested in the United States, which led the Situationists to publish the leaflet Hands off Alexander Trocchi! in October 1960. Trocchi then returns to Europe and becomes part of the editing committee of Internationale Situationniste in 1963. The next year, he launches Project Sigma (more below), which leads to a break with Debord and the SI.

With Project Sigma, Trocchi tried to establish an international network of countercultural activism largely focused on socially-based institutions perceived as limiting free expression such as the media, universities, and workplaces. For more about Sigma, see http://realitysandwich.com/128311/alexander_trocchi_project_sigma/ and http://omeka.wustl.edu/omeka/items/show/9588

The most important of the Sigma folios, Insurrection of a million minds calls for a cultural revolution which “must seize the grids of expression and the power-houses of the mind” and proposes the creation of an international ‘spontaneous university’ “as the possible detonator of the invisible insurrection.

“Invisible Insurrection” was originally published in New Saltire Review in 1962, then subsequently as ‘Technique du Coup du Monde’ in Internationale Situationniste no. 8 (Jan. 1963). Full text available at http://www.notbored.org/invisible.html [English]

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Heatwave [1966]

RADCLIFFE, Charles (Ed.). Heatwave 1London: Heatwave, July 1966. 40 p.; ill.; 21 x 28 cm.; orange wrappers with text in black.

GRAY, Chris and RADCLIFFE, Charles (Eds.). Heatwave 2. London: Heatwave, October 1966. 36 p.; ill.; 21 x 28 cm.; red wrappers with text in black.

Short-lived, yet influential magazine edited by Charles Radcliffe alone (issue #1, July) then in collaboration with Chris Gray (issue #2, October). A third issue appears to have been largely drafted, but never published. To date, only issue #1 has been reprinted (in 1993). Thankfully, full scans of the first two issues can be found on Charles Radcliffe’s website at  http://charlieradcliffe.com/heatwave/

For Radcliffe, “Heatwave 1 & 2 were direct descendants of The Chicago Rebel Worker and came from the revolutionary ferment that surrounded us.” Indeed, Heatwave‘s launch is advertized in issue #6 of The Rebel Worker, which was edited by the Rosmonts in the United States. Heatwave is lauded in the pamphlet De la Misère en Milieu Etudiant (On the Poverty of Student Life) in Fall 1966: “One thinks here of the excellent journal Heatwave, which seems to be evolving toward an increasingly rigorous radicality”.

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).

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Original drawing by Attila Kotanyi [1960]

KOTANYI, Attila. [Original, untitled drawing]. 1960. 50 x 65 cm; colored inks on thick white stock. Provenance: Guy De Sauvage (Belgian painter and friend of Kotanyi).

Original drawing by Attila Kotanyi, one of the lesser-known figures of the Situationist International, during his exile in Belgium in the aftermath of the failed Hungarian revolution (1956).

Kotanyi’s joined the SI in the Spring of 1960, In a letter to Pinot-Gallizio dated 16 May 1960, Debord writes: “Parmi les “nouvelles recrues de l’I.S.”, je viens de rencontrer Attila Kotányi. Il est sensationnel : et Asger est très content.” (“Among the ‘new recruits to the SI’, I just met Attila Kotanyi. He is amazing: and Asger is very happy”). Kotanyi was excluded in 1962 for his alleged “Christian mysticism”. In those short years, Kotanyi made numerous contributions to the SI

  • “Gangland et Philosophie” (Issue 4, p.33) (English)
  • “Rapport a la IVe conférence” (Issue 5, p.24)
  • “Programme élémentaire du bureau d’urbanisme unitaire” (issue 6, p. 16) (English)
  • “L’étage suivant” (issue 7, p. 47)
  • (with Raoul Vaneigem) “Theses sur la Commune” (first released as a tract, then reprinted in issue 12) (English)

Little has been written about Kotanyi and his role in the SI. We find an article here: http://exindex.hu/print.php?l=en&page=3&id=989

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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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