New General Catalog presents a month long web program broadcasted to and from the gallery in recognition of the 50th anniversary of Guy Debord’s First Situationist International. Curated and programmed by Trong G. Nguyen, The Guy Debord Show will webcast LIVE on Operator 11 weeknights at 11:30pm, following Fox News. Artists and collaborators from around the globe have been invited to give us an hour of their best Situationist-inspired performance/action. Artists include Art Hijack 2.0, Carmen Carmona, Clare and the Reasons, Eh-Team, Chris Filippini and Tómas Lemarquis, Fluff Constructivists, Greenpoint Bathing Society, David Keating, Lara Star Martini, Dan Levenson, Elizabeth McTernan, Parfyme Deluxe, Maria Petschnig, Praxis, Shit TV, UFO Factory, and a host of others.
Check the schedule for events broadcasted live from the gallery (open to the public)!
The Situationist International (SI) was a small group of international political and artistic agitators with roots in Marxism, Lettrism and the early 20th century European artistic and political avant-gardes. The SI was active in Europe through the 1960s and aspired to major social and political transformations. In the 1960s it split into a number of different groups, including the Situationist Bauhaus, the Antinational and the Second Situationist International.
The most prominent member of the SI group was Guy Debord, whose seminal text Society of the Spectacle (1967) continues to prophecy and parallel the current age of mass media. Debord's analysis probed the historical, economic and psychological roots of 'the media’ and traced the development of a modern society in which "all that was once directly lived has become mere representation," where the spectacle refers to “a social relationship between people that is mediated by images.” The spectacle is thus an inverted depiction of society in which genuine activity is supplanted by passive identification with “commodities” that are nothing more than stand-ins for actual experience. This condition in which authentic social life has been replaced with its image represents, according to Debord, that "historical moment at which the commodity completes its colonization of social life," where alienation marks the conclusion to "the decline of being into having, and having into merely appearing." Commodities thus take on a mind of their own, turning humans into robots mechanically worshipping them.
The spectacle itself is an all-consuming mechanism. As people consume the commodities or image-objects of the spectacle they become part of the spectacle, making rebellion against it difficult. Even the most radical gesture gets recuperated into the spectacle and turned into a commodity, negating its subversive meaning. Everything eventually becomes a commodity in the spectacle – TV, radio, the internet, books, ideas, thoughts and desires. “Rebellion is sold back to us as an image that pacifies us.”
The SI’s artistic, architectural, and urban practices preached disruption. Today, ideas such as unitary urbanism, dérive, detournement, and psychogeography have ensconced themselves into the cultural lexicon. The Guy Debord Show begins as a disruptive exercise, yet will end in spectacle. That is the projected trajectory. And yet exceptions can never be ruled out. So artists will give us their best shot.
For more information, contact Trong G. Nguyen at firstname.lastname@example.org