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Essay

Definitions

by SI 1958


constructed situation

A moment of life, concretely and deliberately constructed by the collective organization of unitary environment and the free play of events.

situationist

Relating to the theory or practical activity of constructing situations. One who engages in the construction of situations. A member of the Situationist International.

situationism

A word totally devoid of meaning, improperly derived from the preceding term. There is no situationism, which would mean a theory of interpretation of existing facts. The notion of situationism was obviously conceived by anti-situationists.

psychogeography

The study of the precise effects of geographical setting, consciously managed or not, acting directly on the mood and behaviour of the individual.

psychogeographical

Relating to psychogeography. That which manifests the direct effect of geographical setting on mood.

psychogeographer

One who studies and reports on psychogeographical realities.

dérive

An experimental mode of behavior linked to the conditions of urban society: a technique for hastily passing through varied environments. Also used, more particularly, to designate the duration of a prolonged exercise of such an experiment.

unitary urbanism

The theory of the combined use of art and technology leading to the integrated construction of an environment dynamically linked to behavioural experiments.

détournement

Used as an abbreviation for the formula: détournement of prefabricated aesthetic elements. The integration of past or present artistic production into a superior environmental construction. In this sense, there cannot be situationist painting, or music, but a situationist use of these media. In a more primitive sense, détournement from within old cultural spheres is a form of propaganda, which lays witness to the depletion and waning importance of these spheres.

culture

The reflection and prefiguration at any given historical moment, of the possible organization of daily life; the complex of mores, aesthetic, and feelings by which a collective reacts to a life which is objectively given to it by its economy. (We define this term only from the perspective of the creation of values, and not of their teaching.)

decomposition

The process by which traditional cultural forms have destroyed themselves, under the effects of the appearance of superior means of dominating nature, permitting and requiring superior cultural constructions. We distinguish between an active phase of decomposition, effective demolition of older superstructures -- which ends around 1930 -- and a phase of repetition, which has dominated since then. The delay in passing from decomposition to new constructions is tied to the delay in the revolutionary liquidation of capitalism.

 

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