Situación construida: Momento de la vida construido concreta y deliberadamente para la organización colectiva de un ambiente unitario y de un juego de acontecimientos.
Situacionista: Todo lo relacionado con la teoría o la actividad práctica de la construcción de situaciones. El que se dedica a construir situaciones. Miembro de la Internacional situacionista.
Situacionismo: Vocablo carente de sentido, forjado abusivamente por derivación de la raíz anterior. No hay situacionismo, lo que significaría una doctrina de interpretación de los hechos existentes. La noción de situacionismo ha sido concebida evidentemente por los antisituacionistas.
Psicogeografía: Estudio de los efectos precisos del medio geográfico, ordenado conscientemente o no, al actuar directamente sobre el comportamiento afectivo de los individuos.
Psicogeográfico: Relativo a la psicogeografía. Lo que manifiesta la acción directa del medio sobre la afectividad.
Psicogeógrafo: Que investiga y transmite las realidades psicogeográficas.
Deriva: Modo de comportamiento experimental ligado a las condiciones de la sociedad urbana; técnica de paso ininterrumpido a través de ambientes diversos. Se usa también más específicamente para designar la duración de un ejercicio continuo de esta experiencia.
Urbanismo unitario: Teoría del empleo del conjunto de las artes y técnicas que concurren en la construcción integral de un medio en combinación dinámica con experiencias de comportamiento.
Desvío: Se emplea como abreviación de la fórmula: desvío de elementos estéticos prefabricados. Integración de producciones de las artes actuales o pasadas en una construcción superior del medio. En este sentido no puede haber pintura ni música situacionistas, sino un uso situacionista de estos medios. En un sentido más primitivo, el desvío en el interior de las antiguas esferas culturales es un método de propaganda que testimonia el desgaste y la pérdida de importancia de estas esferas.
Cultura: Reflejo y prefiguración, en cada momento histórico, de las posibilidades de organización de la vida cotidiana; compuesto de la estética, los sentimientos y las costumbres mediante el que una colectividad reacciona ante la vida que le viene dada objetivamente por la economía. (Definimos este término sólo en la perspectiva de la creación de valores, y no en la de su enseñanza.)
Descomposición: Proceso por el que las formas culturales tradicionales se han destruido a sí mismas como consecuencia de la aparición de medios superiores de dominación de la naturaleza que permiten y exigen construcciones culturales superiores. Se distingue una fase activa de descomposición, demolición efectiva de las viejas superestructuras -que acaba hacia 1930- y una fase de repetición que domina desde entonces. El retraso en el paso de la descomposición a construcciones nuevas está ligado al retraso de la liquidación revolucionaria del capitalismo.
Publicado en el # 1 de Internationale Situationniste (1-VI-58).
Un Ejemplo Post Situacionista
America is now wealthier than at any other time in its history, yet all around us and within us a feeling of lurking anomie persists. Like that scratchy sensation at the back of your throat, that shudder down your spine when you feel the flu coming on, and symptoms of this deep unease pervade our society. The spread of materialistic values has contributed to a moral coarsening and a growing cynicism in our country. Within a manipulative world all motives seem venal, all efforts illusory. But at a deeper level, it is the commodifying of imagination itself, the moral passivity, the social isolation, the angst that is generated by living in a solipsistic world of fraudulent satisfactions that is producing the greatest evil.
When children addicted to video games slaughter other children with automatic weapons, and do this in the style of video games, we know that something tragic is occurring. Critics call for better values, as if values were something that could be advertised and sold. And yet to even entertain a moral value one must first be someone in a world beyond one’s self. We’re suffering the symptoms of narcissistic injury. The vital here and there of spiritual experience is disappearing from our world. It’s dissolving into vicarious spectacle. The world, in some nauseating fashion, no longer appears to belong to itself.
We need some deep and drastic therapy to break this spell. We need to reestablish contact with our inner selves. We need to reinvent a public world. We need immediate connection to the natural world of vital need. And this is where my work and the experiment called Burning Man comes in.
Imagine you are put upon a desert plain, a space which is so vast and blank that only your initiative can make of it a place. Imagine it is swept by fearsome winds and scorching temperatures, and only by your effort can you make of it a home. Imagine you’re surrounded by thousands of other people, that together you form a city, and that within this teeming city there is nothing that’s for sale.
These challenging conditions represent the chief appeal of our utopian experiment. Since its founding in the Nevada desert in 1990, Black Rock City has grown from a hamlet of 80 people into a five square mile civic entity complete with a fire department, two daily newspapers, over 20 radio stations, a department of public works. [whistles] In 1999 its boulevards and avenues were thronged by a population of over 23,000 people. This elaborate urban infrastructure has been described by the London Observer as a, “beautifully zoned tentopolis designed with a precision of which the Renaissance city state idealists would approve”.
This city that arises annually and disappears without a trace occurs in an extraordinary setting. The Black Rock desert is an empty void. Not a bird or bush or bump disturb its surface. It is a place that is no place at all apart from what we choose to make of it. Think of it as a vast blank slate, or better yet, think of it as a sort of movie screen upon which every citizen of Black Rock City is encouraged to project some aspect of their inner selves. This novel use of nothingness elicits a superabundant production of spectacle. But it is spectacle with a difference. We have, in fact, reversed the process of spectation by inviting every citizen to create a vision and contribute it to a public environment. We call this process radical self-expression. What makes this self-expression truly radical is its reintegration of the private and personal back into a shared public domain.
The idea was essentially that you would take the elements of mass culture that had been expropriated from real culture and denatured of their meaning and you would appropriate it back and invest it with new meaning by making your own show.
All of this activity forms the immediate background of Burning Man. It forms a whole series of these anti-consumerist utopias that people were trying to create. The theoretician that people were always citing, they talk about him still, was Hakim Bey, who originated the notion of TAZ, the “Temporary Autonomous Zone“. This was anarchist theory.
LA VIE BOHÉME — A History of Burning Man
a lecture by Larry Harvey
at The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis
February 24, 2000
THE EXISTING FRAMEWORK cannot subdue the new human force that is increasing day by day alongside the irresistible development of technology and the dissatisfaction of its possible uses in our senseless social life.
Alienation and oppression in this society cannot be distributed amongst a range of variants, but only rejected en bloc with this very society. All real progress has clearly been suspended until the revolutionary solution of the present multiform crisis.
What are the organizational perspectives of life in a society which authentically “reorganizes production on the basis of the free and equal association of the producers”? Work would more and more be reduced as an exterior necessity through the automation of production and the socialization of vital goods, which would finally give complete liberty to the individual. Thus liberated from all economic responsibility, liberated from all the debts and responsibilities from the past and other people, humankind will exude a new surplus value, incalculable in money because it would be impossible to reduce it to the measure of waged work. The guarantee of the liberty of each and of all is in the value of the game, of life freely constructed. The exercise of this ludic recreation is the framework of the only guaranteed equality with non-exploitation of man by man. The liberation of the game, its creative autonomy, supersedes the ancient division between imposed work and passive leisure.
The church has already burnt the so-called witches to repress the primitive ludic tendencies conserved in popular festivities. Under the existing dominant society, which produces the miserable pseudo-games of non-participation, a true artistic activity is necessarily classed as criminality. It is semi-clandestine. It appears in the form of scandal.
So what really is the situation? It’s the realization of a better game, which more exactly is provoked by the human presence. The revolutionary gamesters of all countries can be united in the S.I. to commence the emergence from the prehistory of daily life.
Henceforth, we propose an autonomous organization of the producers of the new culture, independent of the political and union organizations which currently exist, as we dispute their capacity to organize anything other than the management of that which already exists.
The Architectonality of Psychogeographicism
The Hieroglyphics of Driftwork
by Hakim Bey
(in memoriam Guy Debord)
obscure & mysterious grottoes into which they enter, imitating serpents — spaces of return to an intimacy that “once upon a time” was shattered by memory — by the simultaneous reiteration & belatedness of memory — that faculty of human consciousness “closet to the divine”. But don’t they say that “to forgive is human, to forget is divine” ? In the ritual reiteration or “remembrance” (dhikr) of the sufis one forgets the “self” precisely in order to recall the Self; — thus to re-member is to erase separation, & this erasure is a species of forgetfulness. (In certain key Islamic buildings like the Alhambra the reiteration of dhikr as calligrammatic text becomes the very definition of built space as mnemonic device or “Memory Palace” — not ornament but the very basis or crystal-precipitation-principle of architecture.)
“Since we are Jesus Christ,” as one of the Brethren of the free Spirit boasted, “the only issue is that what is already perfect in us should be reiterated …” This process however leads to a paradoxical un-learning — hence to a loss of fear — so that one can “let oneself be led by one’s natural senses, like a little child”. Now, the cave stands for unconsciousness; — the goal however is not to lose unconsciousness but to recapture that which unconsciousness separated us from, that which consciousness “spoiled”. Thus within the dark grotto itself memory must be paradoxically inscribed — key images are reiterated (literally repeated in some cases by a palimpsestic or incisive over-drawing) — images which represent out lost intimacy as a pantheon of animals (“good to think with”) — each animal a special joy or “divine” function. Thus the the cave becomes the first intentional architectural space, the intersection of unconsciousness (the bliss of “Nature”) & consciousness (memory , reiteration).
Ever since Plato we’ve been taught to revere anamnesis — but let’s descend to the pre-Platonic cave, the paleolithic grotto, to recover the positive dialectic of amnesia — without which memory becomes simply a curse, coagulating at last as History (the degree of zero of memory as suffocation): the first city (Çatalk Hüyük) is already arranged as a gridwork, the very antithesis of the grotto’s aesthetic shapelessness, it’s meandering & amazing spaces, it’s melted stalagmites & stalactites — its organicity (which is never the less expressed as mineral life). The cities of Sumer & Harappa were likewise laid out as severe grids, cruel abstractions of linearity. To draw a line is to separate, to create spatial hierarchy (between priest & people, rich & poor, surplus & scarcity) and to define the topia of memory against the dark unconscious of the tribe, the u-topian cave, the organic wild(er)ness. The tertium quid or coincidentia oppositorium here (between “grotto” & Babylon) might appear in the medieval city (which still survives in a few places in the Islamic world) where the excessive cruelty of the grid is mollified — not erased but softened — by a recording of a space according to the tree or the river-delta model (chaotic bifurcation ranging to complexity based on intra-dimensional “strange attractors”) — an urbanism of the organic, the aesthetic, & the complex or plural (as opposed to the inorganic, the ideological, & the simple or total).
The medieval city is an extruded grotto Some of these cities introduced allegorical pageants or parades in which huge emblem-complexes (composite hieroglyphs) were built & set up or carried around the labyrinth of streets. Myths & legends were acted out: — sometimes the Lord Mayor played the role of “Lord Mayor”, wandering thru a street-theater of encounters with symbolic characters (like Bloom in Nighttown), thus re-newing the City as its elected Hero undergoing the initiation of ritual marriage with the urban goddess.
Here the Free City comes to a synchronic & ludic consciousness of itself hic et nunc, rather than succumb to the miserabilist diachronism of power’s violence. In this Hermetic City we find the background or womb-space of the alchemical Emblem Books, and the narrativity of a Bosch or Breughel. Memory loses its heaviness here & takes on a folkloric air, carnivalesque (the festival as reiteration of pleasure) with built shapes that appropriate (thru design or thru the accidents of decay & accretion) the forms of breasts, phalluses, wombs, rocks & water, moss & flowers, even of wind & light.
The Babylonian grid-city wants memory to persist thru time — smooth & empty time — but as Dali showed, memory persists only in the deliquescense of measured time. The medieval-hermetic city (like Blake’s Green Jerusalem) preserves memory but in a “disordered” way — like akashic marmalade — time which is textured & full. “Babylon” preserves order (or else!) — but what happens to memory there ? Isn’t it transmuted into the poison formaldehyde of History, the re-iterated tale of our poverty & their power, taxonomic myth of the ruling class ? Who can blame us for harboring both a nostalgia & an insurrectionary desire for the narrow winding alleys, shadowy steps, covered ways & tunnels, middens & cellars of a city which has designed itself — organically, unconsciously — within an aesthetic of festive & secret conviviality, & of the curvaciuos negentropic mutability of memory itself ?
The psychic urbanism of the 1960’s constituted yet another attempt to reclaim built memory for this “Romantic” project — rus in urbe, as F. Law Olmstead put it — “The country in the city” — reintroduction of the eternal “baroque” (as in “baroque pearl”) or spontaneous form — (like the miraculous fungoid cinnabar grottoes of Mao Shan Taoism, created by the Imaginal potency of the Adept) — which is also the “divine” spontaneity, unconsciousness & forgetting, of Nature. A project for the builders of some near-future No Go Zone: — the city of psychogeographic resistance, the anti-grid, architectonality of driftwork, festal space — and the Cave of Fluid Memory. Rock & water — the reverie of the bard, the forgetfulness of the gods.
Back to Hakim Bey and Ontological Anarchy.What is Burning Man?