Situationist International was started in 1957 to oppose the commodification of the worker, and to inspire in the proletariat the will to step out of the cycle of manufactured life. It only lasted officially until 1972, yet the ideals are still prevalent among the new left.

While it lasted, it was an intellectual and highly imaginative student movement with strong Marxist influences, and located primarily in France. What made it distinct from other Marxist movements was its equilateral critique on Communism, which it declared was "state capitalism".

The Situationists propose not a concrete utopia, but an abstraction. Do they really believe that one fine day, or one decisive evening, people will look at each other and say, "Enough! To hell with work, to hell with boredom! Let's put an end to it!" - and that everyone will then step into the eternal Festival and the creation of situations?

--Henri Lefebvre, Position contre les technocrates

1957: The Situationist International, a utopian anti-art movement, is formed as a fusion of Guy Debord’s Lettrist International and Asger Jorn’s International Movement for an Imaginist Bauhaus. Its founding paper opens as follows

First of all, we think the world must be changed.

Very nice. The Situationists were by no means the first or the last to feel this way. And Lefebvre's criticism is accurate, in that the Situationist demands and expectations were patently ridiculous. But they were no more ridiculous than the bizzare, alienating constructs of modernity, whereby people pursue idealized images of themselves through the purchase of commodities. The Situationist approach to the study of this system was that
...the nature of social reality and the means to its transformation were to be found not in the study of power, but in a long clear look at the seemingly trivial gestures and accents of ordinary experience.

--Greil Marcus, Lipstick Traces

The Situationists proposed a life made up of freely and deliberately constructed situations, graffitti and shouts piercing through the self-referring discourse of the existing order.

  • Dérive- The practice of aimless wandering through a city, observing the psychogeography that it imposes
  • Detournement, I.e. "There is no Situationist art, only Situationist uses of art"- The subversion of existing artistic elements to express ideologies contrary to their own intentions
(Very incomplete) works: There were only about 70 Situationists, and never more than 20 at once. The group disbanded in 1972.
There was not only one Internationale Situationniste but two groups. The less known one was formed when Jorgen Nash, Asgar Elde, Jacqueline de Jong, Katja Lidell, Steffan Larsson and Sardy Strid walked out of the Debord's SI in 1962. They established Nash's villa Drakabygget near Halmstad as their headquarters. Because the history of SI is more or less, rather less, studied from Angloamerican and French point of views, the second SI not so known but it doesn't mean they were inactive.

Of course, Paris-based SI proclaimed that they didn't excactly walk out but were expelled from SI. They were given name "nashists" and defined as follows:

Nashism (French: Nashisme, German: Nashismus, Italian: Nascismo):      The term is derived from the name Nash, an artist who seems to be lived in Denmark on 20th century. Known for his attempt to deceive contemporary revolutionary movement and theory. The term suits for all traitors in the struggle against prevailing cultural and social circumstances.

Debord & co. accused nashists that they were interested in nothing but commercial success and popularity.

Nash's SI had also some 10-15 members and they were later joined by German artists called SPUR. They published at least two papers, Situationist Times and Drakabygget. They were much more keen on art than their Parisian counterparts but still they were situationists by heart: They just believed that an act is the result of feelings and aroused from them. That's why there's need for (situationist) art in pre-revolution era. Debord thought the opposite and was mocked by Nash: "You feel yourself spiritual only after you have said your prayers."

One may say that Scandinavian Internationale Situationniste was a socialdemocratic version of the situationists of Paris. They based their movement on the secularization of Kierkegaard's situation philosophy, unified with German dialectic, British economics, French claims on societal change and finally on renewed Marx. They called their theory situology and their goal was a situcratic society founded through people's revolution.

It can be consider that the Scandinavian SI was resurrection of dada. They organised happenings and wrote manifests etc. For example, the Mutant-Manifesto says: "A word war is better than a world war." This was the hottest period of Cold War and the Manifesto claimed they refused to cooperate with anyone who can be linked with an atom bomb shelter. In Sweden, they were called quasi-artists who express their artistic traits through beards and dirty clothes. This was an official reply to the situation lived out by Carl Magnus and his friends: They made a tomb on a city square which said: "RIP: Art gallery, cultural scholarships, public artworks, etc."

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