created by Phoebe A

8 Mar 2010

Rubric of the Spectacle

The Situationists

'The Naked City'; Guy Debord, 1957

This is Debord's fragmented map of Paris emphasising the key concerns of the 'Situationist International' (SI), "particularly around construction and perception of urban space". By rearranging this urban terrain, Debord encouraged the average "imbecile" to engage in a deeper understanding of Paris as an aesthetic, political environment.

The SI were a group of international revolutionaries established in the late 1950's with ideas influenced greatly by Marxist thinkers and avant-garde artists. They attempted to discourage social alienation caused by capitalist order, by constructing 'situations' so that an element of passion could be injected back into the city. In their attempt to reify bohemian culture, they provoked the government to take action by supporting the revolts in May 1968 and encouraged workers to occupy the factories and demand direct democracy. Society of the Spectacle is one of the most important pieces of work established by the SI, and Debord himself was the most significant intellectual in the situationist group. Society of the Spectacle insinuates that society presents a fake representation of itself to the masses through media and advertising, to mask the ugly reality of a downward spiralling capitalist society. So 'The naked city' represents a deconstruction of the city, in order to promote looking at urban space through a different perspective.

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