Sunday, January 20, 2008


"Whereas Russia and Germany were largely responsible for the formation of the concentrated spectacle, and the United States for the diffuse form, the integrated spectacle has been pioneered by France and Italy."

--Guy Debord, Comments on the Society of the Spectacle (Verso translation, p. 8)

* * *

"[F]urthermore the new towns (Sarcelles, Moureux, etc.) were strangely reminiscent of colonial or semi-colonial towns, with their straight roads crisscrossing at right angles and their frequent police patrols."

--Henri Lefebvre, Everyday Life in the Modern World (p. 59, italics mine)

Grids. Modernization/modernity/modernism as a process within society of production and negation, where a graphic or conceptual thing like a grid can be a tool employed to enact and ensure the social imperative of modernization, or to critique and investigate it.


Anonymous said...

Another book recommendation: Andy Merrifield's book "Guy Debord" (2005, Reaktion Books, Critical Lives series) is a great little intellectual bio and introductory history of the Situationists and their influences. It's very lively written too.

ZC said...

Ah thanks again Phil--do you know how it stacks up next to the books by Bracken (read some of) and Jappe (on the pile)?

PWC said...

do you have the citation for that second quote?

I think the moment tying this all together (post-war curtain wall architecture with cinema) is the opening credits of North by Northwest.


ZC said...

Patrick, it's Lefebvre's Everday Life in the Modern World, trans. Sacha Rabinovitch, original edition copyright 1971 but new material in a 1984 ed. (The copy I've got checked out is a third printing, 1994.) New Brunswick and London: Transaction Publishers.

And I am certainly due for a revisitation of North by Northwest. (In fact sometime in 2008 I should revisit a lot of Hitchcocks, plus play catch up on some minor ones, since I just got Tom Cohen's mad-and-fascinating-looking two-volume book on Hitch.)

Anonymous said...

Zach --

I don't really know how the Merrifield compares in argumentation/perspective, but it definitely fills a nitch by being very brief and easy to read, yet also substantive and not over-simplified. I turned to it after having read Society of the Spectacle and it delivered in terms of biographical context and in giving a potted history of the Situationists' development.