Nous avons la douleur de vous faire part de la perte de GUY DEBORD mort a l’Internationale Situationniste [1966]

VERNAY, Herve. Nous avons la douleur de vous faire part de la perte de GUY DEBORD mort à l’Internationale Situationniste. Strasbourg, [December 1966]. 14 x 10 cm. postcard housed in a 14.5 x 11 cm. envelope.

Fake mortuary card that reads “It is with profound sadness that we inform you of the passing of Guy Debord, who died at the Internationale Situationniste” (translation is mine).

This card is the work of André Vernay, who once lived in the same apartment as Bruno Vayr-Piova and Tony Verlaan . According to André Bertrand and André Schneider, “in December 1966, Hervé Vernay, who was upset to have been kept on the sidelines of the Strasbourg scandal, sought to discredit his former comrades to Guy Debord” (Le scandale de Strasbourg mis à nu par ses celibataires même , p.139). In a letter to Guy Debord, Vernay had already expressed what he saw as contradictions between the pamphlet De la misère en milieu étudiant (released in November 1966) and Situationist ideas. Debord would write back on 26 December 1966, expressing his “complete solidarity” with the Strasbourg students (and their incendiary brochure) and refusing an in-person meeting with Vernay (see Correspondance vol.3, p.185).

This fake mortuary card would be reproduced in Internationale Situationniste 11, where it is described as an “example of anti-SI propaganda, distributed anonymously at the General Assembly of the French National Student Union in January [1967]” (p.28)

Our copy comes in an original envelope that was mailed to HEATWAVE (a magazine launched by future Situationist member Charles Radcliffe in July 1966) and postmarked 24 December 1966.

In looking at this card, one cannot help but recall Guy Debord’s own fake mortuary notice, which he wrote with Hervé Falcou on the occasion of their success at the French baccalaureate exam (July 9, 1951). See Guy Debord, Oeuvres (p.41)

We locate no copy on OCLC or in the trade.

La Langue verte et la cuite [1968]

JORN, Asger; ARNAUD, Noël. La Langue verte et la cuite, étude gastrophonique sur la marmythologie musiculinaire. Paris: Jean-Jacques Pauvert, 30 octobre 1968. 343 p.; ill.; 28 x 22.5 cm; ill. Dust jacket with minute tears. Signed by Jorn.

Published as the third volume of the Bibliotheque d’Alexandrie (Library of Alexandria), La Langue verte et la cuite is the result of a collaboration between Noel Arnaud from the College de Pataphysique and visual artist Asger Jorn. The work is spectacular in many respects. First, its sheer physicality: the book is almost 5 cm thick and weighs over 2 kilograms. Next, its rich production: La Langue verte includes 315 color illustrations and a luxuriously printed dust jacket. Last but not least, its many ambitions – including the articulation of a new (half-serious) art / science (“la cuisine des langues”) and a parody of structuralism, which was then all the rage in France. In many ways, La langue verte can be read as a situationist detournement of Claude Levi Strauss’ Le Cru et le Cuit (The Raw and the Cooked, 1964), which investigated the role of cooking in the transition from nature to culture.

For additional insights about La Langue verte et la cuite and its rich meaning, see: HARRIS, STEVEN. “How Language Looks: On Asger Jorn and Noël Arnaud’s La Langue Verte.” October 141 (2012): 111–32. https://tinyurl.com/thufnvzd

[Announcement] Signal 07: A Journal of International Political Graphics and Culture [2021]

Hot off the press is the publication of Signal 07: A Journal of International Political Graphics and Culture [2021].

Signal is an ongoing book series dedicated to documenting and sharing compelling graphics, art projects, and cultural movements of international resistance and liberation struggles.

This issue features an article by yours truly on the Situationist International (see bolded item)

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Philadelphia Printworks: Maryam Pugh discusses the legacy and future of Black political art with John Morrison
  • The Vinyl Records of Victor Jara: The world-wide impact of the nueva canción bard documented by Josh MacPhee
  • Spectacular Commodities: Mehdi el Hajoui explores the objects of the Situationist International
  • The Left Independistas: A fifty year retrospective of the graphics of the Catalan independence movement by Jordi Padró
  • Hope in the Midst of Apathy: Vera Williams and the cover art of Liberation magazine by Alec Dunn
  • Dario and Maxi: Natalia Revale documents the transformation of a Buenos Aires metro station
  • We Will Break Open the Doors That Obscure the Sun: Erik Buelinckx uncovers the graphic work of the anarchist Belgian Expressionist Albert Daenens
  • Giving Voice to the Voiceless: Bill Berkowitz interviews California printer and poster maker Malaquías Montoya

Learn more and get 20% off issues 01 through 07 with coupon code SIGNAL at pmpress.org/signal

La Vertigine del Gioco: L’Azione dell’Internazionale Situazionista tra Arte e Politica [2021]

GORETTI, Letizia. La Vertigine del Gioco: L’Azione dell’Internazionale Situazionista tra Arte e Politica. Venice: Anteferma Edizioni, June 2021. 240 p.; ill.; 13,5 x 21 cm. In Italian.

“The book deepens the study of the avant-garde movement and the role of play, as a fundamental element in the life and evolution of beings. The game is tension, creation, fun, tactics and it is from this that the theory of the Situationist International takes shape, which branches out into the city, into the knowledge of spaces, into social and economic criticism. A story reconstructed starting from a research that lasted years, in which the author recovered various materials such as flyers, posters, newspaper pages and a whole series of documents that testify the evolution of the movement, from its establishment to its dissolution, which the only member remained Guy Debord, whose action still appears more than relevant today” (Publisher)

The book was released on Wednesday 28th July 2021, on the occasion of the anniversary of the founding of the Situationist International movement. More details available at
https://www.anteferma.it/prodotto/la-vertigine-del-gioco/, where copies can also be ordered

Constant New Babylon Letter [1962]

CONSTANT (Nieuwenhuys). [CORRESPONDENCE] Geachte Heer Coumans. Amsterdam, 15 August 1962. 1 p.; 21 x 27.5 cm.; black ink on white stock.

Original typewritten and hand-signed letter from Constant (Nieuwenhuys) to [Willem K] Coumans, issued on his writing paper and dated 15 August 1962.

In this letter, Constant briefly explains the circumstances surrounding his decision to leave the Situationist International two years earlier. The recipient, W.K. Coumans, would go on to write the article “New Babylon en Vier Kanten” (published in Nieuws van de Staatsmijnen, 30 July 1965)

The text of the letter reads as follows (translation is mine):

Dear Mr. Coumans,

I am back from vacation and can now answer your postcard from July 14
As you remember, we do not wish for any publicity regarding a possible association with a German architect. Contacts are still too unofficial for that.
I associated with the Situationists for two years. Over that period, the idea of unitary urbanism took shape, culminating in the New Babylon project which appeared publicly for the first time in the Situationist periodical. My isolated position in the Situationist movement, and the lack of cooperation and understanding from its members, led me to turn my back on the movement in 1960. In accordance with your request, I have enclosed a photo*
Best regards,
Constant

*Photo will follow soon, as the stock is exhausted

Forma urmează situației. Orașul Contemporan Anticipat de Situaționiști. [Form follows Situation. Contemporary City as forseen by the Situationists] [2020]

MEDESAN, Silviu-Teofil. Forma urmează situației. Orașul Contemporan Anticipat de Situaționiști. [Form follows Situation. ContemporaryCity as forseen by the Situationists]. Bucharest: OZALID Publishing, 2020. 344 p.; ill.; 16 x 23 cm.; ill. Cover with text in white and red

This book is Silviu-Teofil Medesan’s foray into Situationist theory and its application in contemporary urban environments in Romania. Abundantly illustrated, with hundreds of images and photographs (including several from The Most Dangerous Game exhibition, held in Berlin in 2018)

“We aimed to produce a paper that draws on both theoretical research and activity in the field. The topic is a discussion of the theories put forth by the Situationist International avant-garde movement, analyzing three experimental projects for intervening in the publish space in Cluj-Napoca through the prism of this theory” (p.9)

“The research analyzes the relevance of situationist theories for contemporary phenomena and practices experienced by urban initiative groups in Cluj-Napoca – the author being one of the promoters of these groups -, how these experiments can be viewed using the situationist perspective and the contribution of this reading position to deciphering actions. proposed by non-governmental initiative groups. The conclusions of the study aim at relating contemporary urban experiments to the situationist utopia and the way in which their initiators see their direct involvement in interventions in the urban setting, inspired by situationist theories.

The projects presented and analyzed as case studies are:
• “On Land. Common space in Mănăștur – ”an urban activation project of a green space neglected by the authorities, located in Mănăștur, the largest district in Cluj.
“Eastern Park” – An intervention that starts from a park designed in the ’80s for the eastern part of Cluj, which is in danger of becoming impossible to implement due to pressure from private real estate interests. Through this project, the initiators draw attention to the acute need for green spaces in the neighborhoods of Cluj;
Actions on Someș – A series of projects that propose activities on the banks of the Someș, a river that crosses the center of Cluj-Napoca and whose presence has long been ignored in the life of the city. The initiators of the project advocate for the colonization of the banks and the integration of the watercourse in the urban life.

The book was published with the support of the Order of Architects of Romania from the stamp of architecture.” (Publisher summary, translate courtesy of google)

Flyvebald Nr. 2: Kommerciel sammenspisning! [1963]

INTERNATIONALE SITUATIONNISTE. Flyvebald Nr. 2: Kommerciel sammenspisning!. Copenhagen (Denmark) : Situationistisk Internationale, 1 March 1963. 1 p; 47 x 33 cm.; black ink on cream stock

Rare second poster by the Scandinavian section of the Situationist International, which denounces the Danish Ministry of Culture’s commercialist policies. Includes an excerpt from Debord’s “Thèses sur la révolution culturelle. “The Situationist International’s investigation of the KP scandal in Aarhus is complete. The Young Artist Association and its ally, the new state-endorsed K.P. in Aarhus, are exposed for their commercially-inspired coup attempt. A coup attempt that is as dangerous as the state’s attempt to gain control of the last sector of society — the art sector… Put state control and commercialism back where they belong: in the dustbins of cultural History!” (translation is mine). Signed by P. Laugesen, H.H. Merved, and J.V. Martin for the Scandinavian section. Mailing addresses for the German and French sections are also provided.

Not accounted for in any of the major bibliographies of Guy Debord and the Situationist International (BNF, Gonzalvez, Raspaud & Voyer, Scheppe & Ohrt), and absent of major Situationist archives (Yale, BnF).

To our knowledge, this is the first time this poster is reproduced. We kindly ask readers who have more context on the events described in this poster to write to us or comment on this post.

Flyvebald Nr. 1: Kommerciel sammenspisning? [1963]

INTERNATIONALE SITUATIONNISTE. Flyvebald Nr. 1: Kommerciel sammenspisningCopenhagen (Denmark) : Situationistisk Internationale, 1 March 1963. 1 p; 49 x 32 cm.; black ink on light blue stock.

Rare first poster by the Scandinavian section of the Situationist International, which denounces the Danish Ministry of Culture’s commercialist policies. “What do the heads of the State’s United Culture Concentration Camps (the Academy Council and Ministry of Culture) think about a censored and state-recognized exhibition…having chosen an art dealer as a business manager…” (translation is mine). Signed by P. Laugesen, H.H. Merved, and J.V. Martin for the Scandinavian section. Mailing addresses for the German and French sections are also provided.

Not accounted for in any of the major bibliographies of Guy Debord and the Situationist International (BNF, Gonzalvez, Raspaud & Voyer, Scheppe & Ohrt), and absent of major Situationist archives (Yale, BnF).

To our knowledge, this is the first time this poster is reproduced.

Vestergade 58 Aarhus Praesenterer NY-IRREALISMEN Operation “Playtime”[1967]

[Situationistisk International] Vestergade 58 Aarhus Praesenterer NY-IRREALISMEN Operation “Playtime”Aarhus (Denmark) : Situationistisk Internationale, n.d. [1967]. 1 p.; ill.; 29 x 46 cm.; ill.poster with detourned comics

Poster of the exhibition of anti-paintings by Michèle Bernstein (The Victory of the Spanish Republicans) and J.V. Martin (the Golden Ships series), and five Nothing Boxes by René Viénet. “In March 1967, the same year Debord and Vaneigem’s books appeared, Martin organized another Situationist exhibition in Denmark called ‘Operation Playtime.’ This time the exhibition took place in Aarhus at Galleri Forstesalen. The gallery was located on the first floor at Vestergrade 58, a very vibant local jazz house…” (Rasmussen, Mikkel Bolt. Playmates and Playboys at a Higher Level: J. V. Martin and the Situationist International, p.34)

Scheppe & Ohrt 541. Not in other bibliographies. We do not locate copies on OCLC or in the trade of this rare poster

Im Namen des Volkes [1965]

MARTIN, J.V.. Im Namen des Volkes. Randers: Situationistisk Internationale, n.d. [1965]. n.p. [11 p.]; 21 x 30; ill. covers with detourned comics.

Short pamphlet by J.V. Martin on the trial against the Scandinavian section of the Situationist International. Danish courts later dropped all charges. Ends with the words “There is no state!” (translation is mine).


“IN DENMARK IN FEBRUARY 1965, J.V. Martin published his comments — weighed down by worsening conditions — on the proceedings instituted against the SI by the local branch of “Moral Rearmament” (Im Namen des Volkes). Danish translations of these texts were published by the Left socialist journal Aspekt: in its first issue, under the title To Realize Philosophy, To Realize Art… (Internationale Situationniste #10)

Raspaud & Voyer 117. Not in Scheppe & Ohrt. We locate no copies on OCLC or in the trade.