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29 AUGUST 2017

On the Passage of a few People through a Rather Brief Moment in Time: The Situationist International 1956-1972

"The Situationist International (SI) was an international organization of social revolutionaries, the exclusive membership of which was made up of avant-garde artists, intellectuals, and political theorists, active from its formation in 1957 to its dissolution in 1972.

The intellectual foundations of the Situationist International were derived primarily from anti-authoritarian Marxism and the avant-garde art movements of the early 20th century, particularly Dada and Surrealism. Overall, situationist theory represented an attempt to synthesize this diverse field of theoretical disciplines into a modern and comprehensive critique of mid-20th century advanced capitalism. The situationists recognized that capitalism had changed since Marx's formative writings, but maintained that his analysis of the capitalist mode of production remained fundamentally correct; they rearticulated and expanded upon several classical Marxist concepts, such as his theory of alienation. In their expanded interpretation of Marxist theory, the situationists asserted that the misery of social alienation and commodity fetishism were no longer limited to the fundamental components of capitalist society, but had now in advanced capitalism spread themselves to every aspect of life and culture. They resolutely rejected the idea that advanced capitalism's apparent successes—such as technological advancement, increased income, and increased leisure—could ever outweigh the social dysfunction and degradation of everyday life that it simultaneously inflicted.

Essential to situationist theory was the concept of the spectacle, a unified critique of advanced capitalism of which a primary concern was the progressively increasing tendency towards the expression and mediation of social relations through objects. The situationists believed that the shift from individual expression through directly lived experiences, or the first-hand fulfillment of authentic desires, to individual expression by proxy through the exchange or consumption of commodities, or passive second-hand alienation, inflicted significant and far-reaching damage to the quality of human life for both individuals and society. Another important concept of situationist theory was the primary means of counteracting the spectacle; the construction of situations, moments of life deliberately constructed for the purpose of reawakening and pursuing authentic desires, experiencing the feeling of life and adventure, and the liberation of everyday life.

When the Situationist International was first formed, it had a predominantly artistic focus; emphasis was placed on concepts like unitary urbanism and psychogeography. Gradually, however, that focus shifted more towards revolutionary and political theory. The Situationist International reached the apex of its creative output and influence in 1967 and 1968, with the former marking the publication of the two most significant texts of the situationist movement, The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord and The Revolution of Everyday Life by Raoul Vaneigem. The expressed writing and political theory of the two aforementioned texts, along with other situationist publications, proved greatly influential in shaping the ideas behind the May 1968 insurrections in France; quotes, phrases, and slogans from situationist texts and publications were ubiquitous on posters and graffiti throughout France during the uprisings."

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195719721989 • advanced capitalism • anti-authoritarianart movement • authentic desires • avant-garde art • Branka Bogdanov • capitalist societycommodity fetishism • commodity spectacle • consumer societyconsumerism • consumption of commodities • Dadadegradationdetournement • directly lived experiences • documentary filmearly 20th centuryeveryday life • exchange of commodities • expression and mediation of social relations through objects • feeling of adventure • feeling of life • first-hand fulfillment of authentic desires • graffiti • Greil Marcus • Guy Debord • individual expression by proxy • Jamie Reid • liberation of everyday life • Malcolm Mac Laren • Marxism • Marxist concepts • Marxist theory • May 1968 • means of production • mid-20th century advanced capitalism • mode of production • moments of life • political theorists • political theorypsychogeography • Raoul Vaneigem • reawakening • revolutionary theory • second-hand alienation • Situationist International • situationist movement • situationist theory • situations • slogan • social alienation • social dysfunction • social relations • social revolutionaries • Society of the Spectacle (Guy Debord)spectaclesurrealism • The Revolution of Everyday Life (1967) • theory of alienation • Thomas Levine • UbuWeb • unified critique • unitary urbanism • video documentary

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
21 MARCH 2015

Loophole Cinema: artist collective exploring film in an expanded form

"1989 -1998 A collective of artists, specialising in large scale installation and performance work, usually of a site specific nature."

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16mm1989artist collectiveaudiovisual performance • Bea Haut • Ben Hayman • bodily intervention • British artistcelluloidexpanded cinemaexperimental artistic practices • exterior skin • film in an expanded form • film projection • Greg Pope • image creation • inter-related moments • interactive shadow engines • interior space • Ivan Pope • Javanese shadow puppets • kinetic machinery • large scale installationlight projection • Loophole Cinema (artist collective) • magic lanternmaterial practicemulti-screen • multi-screen projection • multi-screen projection works • multiscreen projections • non-representationaloptical toy • Paul Rodgers • performance work • pre-cinematic history • projected image • projection works • self and surroundings • shadow photographyshadow playsilent film • site-responsive works • site-specific installation • videorama technologies • visual abstractionvisual pattern

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
21 JULY 2013

Alas Smith and Jones: famous parody of cliched character archetypes

Fig.1 "Nazi Generals" sketch from Series 5 Episode 5 of Alas Smith & Jones [http://epguides.com/AlasSmithandJones/].

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1980s1989 • Alas Smith and Jones • Andy Hamilton • archetypal charactersBBCBritish comedycharacter archetypecharacter oversimplification • Chris Langham • cliche • Clive Anderson • Colin Bostock-Smith • comedycomedy series • Griff Rhys Jones • hackneyedhumour • Mel Smith • military leaderNazi • Not the Nine OClock News • parodysketch comedystereotypes • Talkback Productions • television series • trite

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
22 JUNE 2012

Late Soviet era girl next door photo book 'Sverstnitsa' (Peer Girls)

"Сейчас, спустя 22–25 лет, рубрика смотрится уже по–другому – как слепок эпохи, и можно даже проследить общее движение нравов от консервативного идеала "русской красавицы" кондово–советского периода журнала – к раскованности и менее стандартным типажам в купальниках. Хотя, надо отметить, что редактора очень осторожно и редко отклонялись от европейского типажа в пользу азиатского, но и такое немного было."

[A series of girl next door 'pin–up images' demonstrating the liberalisation of sexual attitudes in late Soviet era.]

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1980s19891990bachelorettecheesecake • cultural liberalisation • cultural norms • English Russia (blog) • eroticismgender performance culture • girl next door • glamour magazineglamour shotliberal attitude • liberalisation • liberalisation of sexual attitudes • liberalismmens magazine • Peer Girls (magazine) • photo book • picture bookpin-uprepresentation of womenRussian culturesexual agencysexualisationSoviet eraSoviet popular culture • stone-washed jeans • Sverstnitsa (magazine) • teenage girlsUSSR • vintage glamor shot • young women

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
27 JULY 2010

NZ on Screen: An Archive of Aotearoa New Zealand Screen Culture

"In 2007 NZ On Air initiated the NZ On Screen project as an integral part of its digital strategy. Since 1989 NZ On Air has funded over 15,000 hours of local television production. Much of this content, as well as thousands more hours supported by broadcasters, film investors and other funding sources, is not easily accessible to the public.

NZ On Screen is unlocking the treasure chest, providing access to the wealth of television, film, music video and new media produced in NZ, along with knowledgeable background information."

(New Zealand on Screen)

Fig.1 Murphy, G. (1981). Goodbye Pork Pie. Aotearoa New Zealand, NZ Film.
Fig.2 Tamahori, L. (1994). Once Were Warriors. Aotearoa New Zealand, New Zealand Film Commission
Fig.3 Ballantyne, A. (2009). The Strength of Water. Aotearoa New Zealand, NZ Film.

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19892007Aotearoa New Zealandarchivebroadcastcontentculturedigital strategyfilmfilm makingfilmmakerfundinginvestmentiwilocal television productionMaori • Maori Television • mediamedia culturemoving imagemusic videoNew Zealand cinemaNew Zealand on ScreenNZ Film ArchiveNZ On Screenold mediaproductionscreen culture • Te Mangai Paho • televisionTVNZ • TVNZ Archives

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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