The Situationist City

Ever since I started teaching this course in 2003, I’ve wanted to incorporate the work of the Situationist International in ways more explicit than my brief lectures on spectacle and modernity. This is the first semester (note: this post is from 2011) that I am actually assigning a few short texts by the S.I. on psychogeography, dérive, and critiques of urban planning. (Who knows, I may give you an experimental assignment on the dérive and the City.) The work of the S.I. continues to have a tremendous influence on our thinking today, most obviously with regard to the Occupy movement.

The header image is a psychogeographical map of Paris. As Burridge writes in “We are Bored in the City,” the segments of the map are intended to represent the ‘unities of atmosphere’ found in Paris, whilst the distances between them represent not geographical distance but “distances relating to influences, connections, similarities and dissimilarities.”

Some links to S.I. texts below.

Guy Debord, “The Theory of the Dérive
Guy Debord, “Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography
The Situationist International, “The Use of Free Time
Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle
Andrew Burridge, “We are Bored in the City: The Situationists and the Haptic City

Society of the Spectacle (1973)

by Guy Debord

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