From Public Collectors:
This collection grew out of a fortuitous encounter with Guy Debord, the leader of the Internationale Situationniste. Oneday in late 2001, as I recall it, I stumbled upon a small volume with a most intriguing title: La Société du Spectacle(the Society of the Spectacle). The front cover, which featured a yellowed map of the world, also piqued my curiosity. What could this book possibly be about? Hoping for some clarification, I turned to the back cover (what the French call quatrième de couverture). Its content could be translated as follows: “Throughout his life, and in the way in which he took his own life, Guy Debord (1931-1994) followed only one rule. He summarizes this very rule in his Foreword to the Third French Edition of the Society of the Spectacle: ‘It is necessary to read this book with the idea in mind that it was intentionally written to harm spectacular society. There was never anything outrageous, however, about what it had to say.’ ”
Influenced by Ludwig Feuerbach, Guy Debord posits that, “in modern societies… everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation.” In a sense, the opening sentence of the Society of the Spectacle (Paris: Buchet-Chastel, 1967)sums up the French theorist’s view of the world. According to Debord, alienation does not lie in workers’ lack of agency (as Marx believed) but – and this is a gross simplification – in the fact that, in modern societies, social interactions are mediated by images.
Having read much of Debord’s works, I then turned to the writings of Internationale Situationniste members. In the meantime, I also developed an appetite for scholarship on Guy Debord, and the Internationale Situationniste, as well as for Situationist-inspired movements of the late 1960s onwards. My collection grew from this appreciation of theInternationale Situationniste and its ideas.
Debord insisted that his written works be made available to all free of charge. By sharing my own collection of Situationist and Situationist-influenced material, both via my blog (www.situationnisteblog.wordpress.com) and here on Public Collectors, I hope to play a (very) small part in fulfilling Debord’s legacy and that of the Internationale Situationniste.