On the Passage of a few People through a Rather Brief Moment in Time: The Situationist International 1956-1972
A video documentary combining exhibition footage of the Situationist International exhibitions with film footage of the 1968 Paris student uprising, and graffiti and slogans based on the ideas of Guy Debord (one of the foremost spokesmen of the Situationist International movement). Also includes commentary by leading art critics Greil Marcus, Thomas Levine, and artists Malcolm Mac Laren and Jamie Reid. Branka Bogdanov, Director and producer. NTSC-VHS 22 min. 1989
The Situationist International (SI) was a restricted group of international revolutionaries founded in 1957, and which had its peak in its influence on the unprecedented general wildcat strikes of May 1968 in France.
With their ideas rooted in Marxism and the 20th century European artistic avant-gardes, they advocated experiences of life being alternative to those admitted by the capitalist order, for the fulfillment of human primitive desires and the pursuing of a superior passional quality. For this purpose they suggested and experimented with the construction of situations, namely the setting up of environments favorable for the fulfillment of such desires. Using methods drawn from the arts, they developed a series of experimental fields of study for the construction of such situations, like unitary urbanism and psychogeography.
They fought against the main obstacle on the fulfillment of such superior passionate living, identified by them in advanced capitalism. Their theoretical work peaked on the highly influential book The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord. Debord argued in 1967 that spectacular features like mass media and advertising have a central role in an advanced capitalist society, which is to show a fake reality in order to mask the real capitalist degradation of human life. To overthrow such a system, the Situationist International supported the May '68 revolts, and asked the workers to occupy the factories and to run them with direct democracy, through workers' councils composed by instantly revocable delegates.
After publishing in the last issue of the magazine an analysis of the May 1968 revolts, and the strategies that will need to be adopted in future revolutions, the SI was dissolved in 1972.