TROCCHI, Alexander. [Sigma 3] Sigma: A Tactical Blueprint . London: Sigma, 1964. 6 mimeographed p.; 20.5 x 33 cm.; black ink on blue stock then yellow 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 an amicable split with Debord and the S.I.
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
Along with Insurrection of a million minds (Sigma #2), Sigma: A Tactical Blueprint (Sigma #3) is the most important issue of the Sigma portfolio. In it, Trocchi describes the motivations behind and theoretical underpinnings of his Sigma Project:
- “It is our contention that, for many years now, a change, which might be usefully regarded as evolutionary, has been taking place in the minds of men; they have been becoming aware of the implications of self-consciousness. And, here and there throughout the world, individuals are more or less purposively concerned with evolving techniques to inspire and sustain self-consciousness in all men”
- “In looking for a word to designate a possible international association of men who are concerned individually and in concert to articulate an effective strategy and tactics for this cultural revolution (cf. The Invisible Insurrection), it was thought necessary to find one which provoked no obvious responses. We chose the word “sigma.” Commonly used in mathematical practice to designate all, the sum, the whole, it seemed to fit very well with our notion that all men must eventually be included”
- “Actually dispersed as we are, and will be until several self-conscious focal-points (sigma-centres) are established, effective communications are vital. All individuals and groups the world over must be contacted and henceforth invited to participate. People must be located and activated: we are confronted with the technical problem of elaborating the ways of gearing the power of all of us individuals to an effective flywheel.”
- “All over the world today are little conflagrations of intelligence, little pockets of “situation-making.” Some of the first theorists called themselves “Situationnistes.” Other individuals and groups who appear to us to have similar attitudes are presently being gathered into a comprehensive index which will serve as the basis for our communications. We have to evolve the mechanisms and techniques for a kind of supercategorical cultural organization”
Trocchi also discusses in ample detail his concept of the “spontaneous university” — inspiring future “Free Universities” in London, New York, Copenhagen, and more…
- “In “The Invisible Insurrection” we touched on the kind of situation we wish to bring about. We conceived it to be a kind of spontaneous university. But the term “university” has some unfortunate connotations and is, besides, too limited to include the entire complex of vital and infectious human processes we have in mind to detonate, first in England and subsequently throughout the world. The original spontaneous university (or sigma-centre) will be a fountainhead only. We are concerned with cities and civilizations, not with “classrooms” in the conventional sense, nevertheless, we are at the beginning of it all and must commence with certain practical considerations. Our experimental situation, our international conference, must be located so that our “cosmonauts” can either congregate or be in contact.”
- “The more imaginative university teachers all over the world are well aware of these things. But they can do nothing until they can see a possible alternative. Sigma as spontaneous university is such an alternative. It can only grow out of the combined effort of individuals and groups of individuals working unofficially at supernational level. A large country house, not too far from London (and Edinburgh, and New York, and Paris, etc.), is being sought for the pilot project.”
- ” Then, “the original building will stand deep within its own grounds, preferably on a riverbank. It should be large enough for a pilot-group (astronauts of inner space) to situate itself, orgasm and genius, and their tools and dream-machines and amazing apparatus and appurtenances; with outhouses for workshops large as could accommodate light industry, the entire site to allow for spontaneous architecture and eventual town-planning,” etc. (cf. The Invisible Insurrection.) Here our “experimental laboratory” will locate itself, our community-as-art, and begin exploring the possible functions of a society in which leisure is a dominant fact, and universal community, in which the conventional assumptions about reality and the constraints which they imply are no longer operative, in which art and life are no longer divided. The “university,” which we suspect will have much in common with Joan Littlewood’s “leisuredrome” (if she will forgive my coining a word), will be operated by a “college” of teacher-practioners with no separate administration.”
In addition to its stand-alone publication, “Sigma: A Tactical Blueprint” was published in City Lights Journal #2 in 1964. Full text available at http://www.notbored.org/sigma.html [English]
We locate 4 OCLC copies.