Présent fait aux lecteurs de Lire Debord, traitant des curiosités et difficultés rencontrées dans l’ouvrage [2022]

MERCIER, Luc. Présent fait aux lecteurs de Lire Debord, traitant des curiosités et difficultés rencontrées dans l’ouvrage. n.p. [Luc Mercier]: n.p.[France], 22 September 2022. Comb-bound pamphlet. 49 p.; 21 x 30 cm.; black ink on plain white stock

Edited by Guy Emmanuel and Laurence LeBras, Lire Debord (Paris: L’Echappée, 2016) made available to readers several never-published texts, notes and documents by Guy Debord. Scholarly articles by Anselm Jappe, Greil Marcus, Tom McDonough, and Patrick Marcolini, among others, helped contextualize and bring into light this new original content.

While Lire Debord provides a rich repository of primary and second material, and despite the editors’ best intentions, it is not without gaps, errors, and misinterpretations. Mercier’s Présent fait aux lecteurs de Lire Debord, traitant des curiosités et difficultés rencontrées dans l’ouvrage provides readers a rich set of additions and corrections. Among those are details about topics like the Fronde (a series of civil wars in France between 1648 and 1653), Orson Welles, and some aspects of Debord’s cinema. There are many others

The author of this brochure is no stranger to Debord and the S.I. more broadly. Born in 1954, Mercier is perhaps best known for having played a key role in the dissemination of Situationist material in the 1980s and 1990s. For instance, he circulated Le Port-Folio Situationniste (Paris: Le Lundi au soleil, 1993), a two-volume compilation of texts by the S.I. Mercier also published a translation of texts by the Italian section (Paris: Contre-Moule, 1988), and a translation of documents by various sections of the S.I. (Archives situationnistes Volume 1: Documents traduits (1958-1970). Paris: Contre-Moule / Paralleles, 1997). The latter features the first translation into French of texts by Gruppe SPUR. Other Situationist-related texts by Mercier include Le vraisemblable sur l’assassinat de Gerard Lebovici (Paris, 1984) — which Debord lauded — and Apostrophe à l’auteur de « Guy Debord ou la beauté du négatif (Paris, 1998). Mercier was also a founding member of Comité irradiés de tous les pays, unissons-nous, an anti-nuclear collective influenced by Situationist ideas (their manifesto can be found here), but would depart a year later as the group split into two opposing factions

If interested in acquiring Présent fait aux lecteurs… please get in touch with us, and we will connect you with Luc Mercier.

[11/29 update: adding links to the text and errata file below

Adages / Vaneigem & Stas [2022]

VANEIGEM, Raoul; STAS, André. AdagesBrussels: La Pierre d’Alun, 21 March 2022. 64 p.; 11 x 14 cm; ill. Cover with text in gold, housed in a black slipcase embossed with gold lettering.

This artist book includes aphorisms by Vaneigem and collages by artist André Stas. It was printed in 500 copies. An additional third copies, numbered and signed by the artists, feature an original print by Stas and are housed in a black slipcase embossed with gold lettering. Ours is copy number 9.

Chansons du proletariat révolutionnaire: Paroles et musiques [1996]

Chansons du proletariat révolutionnaire: Paroles et musiques. Paris: Editions musicales En avant comme avant, 1996. 7 loosely inserted sheets, each 42 x 30 cm and folded to 21 x 30 cm, housed in a 22 x 31 cm. white portfolio.

This portfolio was published and distributed in a few Parisian bookstores in 1996. It served as a tribute to the first (and only) volume of the LP Pour en Finir avec le Travail: Chansons du Proletariat Révolutionnaire, produced by Jacques le Glou and released in 1974. 2 years later, in 1998, Chansons… would be re-issued in CD format by EPM. Song renditions, as well as extensive information on this production are available at http://namaste-baba.blogspot.com/2012/01/pour-en-finir-avec-le-travail-great.html

We locate two OCLC copies, at the International Center for Research on Anarchism (CIRA), in Switzerland, and the International Institute for Social Research (IISG), in the Netherlands.

Attila Kotanyi: L’architecture du silence [2022]

KOTANYI, Attila. L’architecture du silence. Paris: Exils, September 2022. 255 p.; ill.; 20.5 x 14 cm.; color cover with B&W portrait of Kotanyi, text in black

We would like to announce the publication of the first compendium of Attila Kotanyi’s works under the title Attila Kotanyi: L’architecture du silence.

A lesser-known figure of the Situationist International, Kotanyi’s joined the movement 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, he made numerous contributions to the SI through its journal Internationale Situationniste:

  • “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)

The above texts, with the exception of “Theses sur la Commune”, are reproduced in L’architecture du silence. However, also included are two rare publications from 1946 (“Architecture”, “Mohol-Nagy”) and several texts from the post-SI period. The compendium also features an introduction by Christophe Kotanyi’s, Attila’s son.

Little has been written about Kotanyi and his role in the SI. We find a great article by Erhardt Miklós here

Première exposition de psychogéographie [1957]

[DEBORD, Guy et al.] Première exposition de psychogéographie. Brussels: Galerie Taptoe, February 1957. 1 p. (two-sided); 21 x 14 cm.; black ink on red stock (front) and white stock (back).

Rare leaflet for “Première exposition de psychogéographie” at the Galerie Taptoe in Brussels between 2 February and 28 February, 1957. This collective exhibition showcased works from the International Movement for an Imaginist Bauhaus, the Letterist International, and the London Psychogeographical Institute (i.e., Ralph Rumney) — all if which would merge into the Situationist International only a few months thereafter. It was supposed to include works by Guy Debord (” Plans psychogéographiques de Paris”), Asger Jorn (“Peintures et céramiques sensationnelles”), Yves Klein (“Tableaux monochromes”), Ralph Rumney (“Peintures”), Michèle Bernstein et Mohamed Dahou (“Photographies”) as well as anonymous contributions including “a drawing by a mad psychogeographer” (perhaps Ivan Chtcheglov, who authored the influential “Formulary for a New Urbanism” in 1953).

However, the exhibition did not come about as advertised here. Following a missed appointment with Asger Jorn at the Gare du Nord in Paris (such things were more common in the pre-cell phone era), Debord became angry at the Danish painter and refused to travel to Brussels. The conflict would de-escalate: Jorn and Debord signed a formal agreement in April 1957, then traveled to Denmark and collaborated on the artist book Fin de Copenhague and two psychogeographic maps (The Naked City, Guide Psychogeographique de Paris). However, Debord’s works were never shown at Taptoe. In fact, it is not known to this day which parts (if any) of the original announcement actually materialized. The only thing we are certain of is that a collective painting, bearing the signatures of Jorn, Rumney, Klein and Ting, was created on the occasion of this potential exhibition. Excerpts of the 6-page catalog mockup (it would never be published) for the exhibition can be found in Guy Debord. Oeuvres (Paris: Gallimard, 2006), pp.282-285 and in Guy Debord, Un art de la guerre (Paris: Gallimard, 2013), p. 81.

Guy Debord: un art de la guerre p. 80. Gonzalvez p.104-106. Guy Debord: Oeuvres p. 280-281. Scheppe p. 675.

We located 3 copies of this leaflet, at Yale, the Getty, and the French National Library.

Piero Simondo: Alle radici del Situazionismo [2004]

[SIMOND, Piero] CURTO, Guido (Ed.). Piero Simondo: Alle radici del Situazionismo. Torino: Edizioni Giampiero Biasutti, 2004. 111 p.; ill.; 22 x 28 cm.; ill. Cover with photograph of Simondo.

Catalog published on the occasion a retrospective of Simondo’s 50 year career, held at Galleria Giampiero Biasutti in Torino, Italy on May 20 – June 30, 2004. Contents include an interview of Simondo by Guido Curto; critical texts by Lorenzo Mamino (“Memorie dal Monregalese”), Alberto Farinella (“L’estetica di Simondo”), Sandro Ricaldone (“Pittura contro lo stile”), and Francesca Comisso (“Laboratorio per un pratica artistica”); a short biosketch; and a bibliograpy. The catalog also features 30 full-page, color reproductions of the artist’s works – starting with Maschera (1953) and ending with Chissa Chi (1999) – and numerous black & white photographs of Simondo and his friends (including Debord, Jorn, etc.) in Alba. This copy is exceptionally signed by Simondo, and dated 20.04.04

Piero Simondo was born in Cosio d’Arroscia on 25 August 1928 – in the same village where, 29 years later, the International Movement for an Imaginist Bauhaus (M.I.B.I.), the Lettrist International (L.I.), and the London Psychogeographical Association (L.P.A.) would merge to form the Situationist International (S.I.). In the Summer 1955, Simondo exhibited his works in Albisola. There, he met Ager Jorn, with whom he founded the Laboratorio di esperienze immaginiste (Laboratory of imaginist experiences) within the M.I.B.I. The next year, he edited Eristica –the review of the M.I.B.I – and organized the first World Congress of Free Artists. Baj, Contant, Jorn, Pinot-Gallizio, Wolman, and Elena Verrone (who would become Simondo’s wife in 1958) were in attendance. In July 1957, he hosted members of the M.I.B.I, L.I., and L.P.A. at his house in Cosio and was a founding member of the S.I. By the following year, however, he was excluded from the organization. As a way to extend the activities of the Laboratorio Sperimentale, Simondo went on to launch the International Center for Artistic Research (CIRA) in 1962. 10 years later, in 1972, he joined the University of Turin where he held the chair of Methodology and Didactics of the Audovisual Medium. Simondo passed away on 6 November, 2020

We locate 6 OCLC copies of this catalog.

Cahier pour un paysage à inventer invitation card [1960]

[STRARAM, Patrick]. Cahier pour un paysage à inventer. Montreal, QC: n.p., 1960. 4 p.; 14.3 x 7.4 cm.; black ink on cream stock.

Invitation card for the launch of the first (and only) issue of Cahier pour un paysage a inventer. The event was held at Café Lutece (a then-popular jazz venue) in Montreal on 17 May 1960. The short-lived Situationist-influenced publication was produced by Patrick Straram following his expatriation to Canada. It mixed articles, poems and critical texts by Quebec writers (Gaston Miron, Marie-France O’Leary, Paul-Marie Lapointe, Gilles Hénault, Serge Garant, Marcel Dubé…) and members of the Internationale Situationniste (Asger Jorn, Gilles Ivain, Guy-Ernest Debord…).

For more about the Cahier itself, see this post

[Photograph] Debord, Marc’O, Fillon, Cocteau [1951]

[GROUPE LETTRISTE] [Photograph] Debord, Marc’O, Fillon, Cocteau. n.p.: n.p., n.d. 21 x 15 cm.; B&W photograph on Fujifilm film stock.

Countertype (duplicate) of an original August 1951 photograph showing Marc O’ (Marc Gilbert Guillaumin), Guy Debord, and Jacques Fillon with Jean Cocteau at the artist’s house in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. Cocteau made a brief apperance in Isou’s film Traité de Bave et d’Éternité (Venom and Eternity). He supported the avant-garde film and convinced the jury of the Cannes Festival to award it a special “avant-garde prize” created for that very purpose. A young Guy Debord had only joined the Lettrist group 4 months prior, in April 1951, when its members had traveled down to Cannes. The rest, as they say, is History.

Photograph reproduced in Guy Debord, Oeuvres (Paris: Gallimard, 2006), pp. 43.

In Unserer Spektakulären Gesellschaft…[1970s?]

[INTERNATIONALE SITUATIONNISTE]. [Dans le décor spectaculaire où le regard ne rencontre que les choses et leur prix…] In Unserer Spektakulären Gesellschaft… n.p. [Germany?]: n.p., n.d. [1970s?]. Poster. Ill.; 61 x 43 cm.; black ink on thick white stock.

German language translation of the original poster by Andre Bertrand, announcing the upcoming publication of Internationale Situationniste no.11. The unsigned text is by Raoul Vaneigem.

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

While numerous French (see here) and English-language (see here) versions of the posters are accounted for, we were not aware a German-language version. We do not locate any copy in the trade or on OCLC. Not in Raspaud.

 Malgré le blasphème [1950]

MOURRE, Michele. Malgré le blasphème. Paris: Julliard, Jan. 1951. 254 p.; 14.5 x 19.5 cm.; white cover in contemporary orange binding.

In this autobiography, 22-year old Michele Mourre describes his eventful youth, from the death of his mother to his conversion to Catholicism and decision to join (then leave) the Dominican order to the famed “Scandal of Notre-Dame”. On Easter Sunday, 1950, Mourre entered the famed Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris during High Mass, dressed as a Dominican monk. In the middle of the ceremony, he got up, stood in front of the altar, and declaimed before the congregation:

Today, Easter day of the Holy Year,
Here, under the emblem of Notre-Dame of Paris,
I accuse the universal Catholic Church of the lethal diversion of our living strength toward an empty heaven,
I accuse the Catholic Church of swindling,
I accuse the Catholic Church of infecting the world with its funereal morality,
Of being the running sore on the decomposed body of the West.
Verily I say unto you: God is dead,
… Today Easter day of the Holy Year,
Here under the emblem of Notre-Dame of Paris,
We proclaim the death of the Christ-god, so that Man may live at last.

Mourre would later recant (thus the title of this book – In spite of blasphemy) and once again become a practicing Catholic. Our copy is exceptionally dedicated by Mourre to Michel de St-Pierre, a conservative catholic writer and the author of 1954 semi-autobiographical best-seller “The Aristocrats”