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This text is not exactly a translation of  “Pop. Cin. Contre le public du cinema”. Rather, it is an other version.

Prologue

In 1964, Asger Jorn had entitled “Against cinema” the pamphlet which included the text (soundtrack) of the film of Debord Against separation.

In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni has this particularity of opening by a long and angry critic against the public of cinema. I will make no concessions to the public in this film is the first phrase. This prologue may be called “the tirade of the public”.

Guy Debord opposed this prologue – against the public- to the campaign of the minister of Culture in these years: “Quand on aime la vie, on va au cinema” (“People who love life go to the cinema”).

He had returned to the profane state of spectator this public of cinema, in that time consecrated, doubly and triply consecrated, as public, as public connoisseur of the “seventh art”, and as public that loved the life.

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Class analysis

Class analysis was the favourite pass-time of petit-bourgeois in the 70 years. It was a frivolous sociology, with still much more resentment than the official one, what the singular of class was reputed to evocate powerfully.

What does interest the most the petit-bourgeois is himself. There was a professor who in these times taught to his followers the method for a subtle distinction between the inferior and the medium lays of the modern little bourgeoisie, itself conveniently distinguished with the ancient one.

Debord has parodied this class analysis in many texts, but never with such a malicious spirit than in this prelude of In girum.

He writes:” The movie-going public, which has never been very bourgeois and which is scarcely any longer working-class, is now recruited almost entirely from a single social stratum, though one that has been considerably enlarged – the stratum of low-level skilled employees in the various “service” occupations that are so necessary to the present production system: management, control, maintenance, research, teaching, propaganda, entertainment, and pseudocritique. Which suffices to give an idea of what they are.”.

Which suffices to give an idea. The so called question of social origins needs an expeditious treatment like this one. Then Debord compares successively these first rank wage earners with the slaves, the serfs and the proletarians, and – about the consumption on credit- with the system of “peonage”.

This arrival of peons is for me the signature of the technique of Debord. As the movie shows commercials with consumers-employees, the text diverts images of pampas, haciendas: true gauchos irrupt on historical theatre of wrongs, just as exited from cartoons of Glenn Baxter. These peons are minor figures of what Boris Donné calls paper-movie of Guy Debord, which imposes its images to the other.

And about the modernity of this new peons: “In other words, this is the first time that poor people have imagined themselves to be part of an economic elite, despite all the evidence to the contrary.”

That we may keep and adapt in this way: “In other words, this is the first time that illiterates have imagined themselves to be part of a cultural elite, despite all the evidence to the contrary.”

Misery

Their surplus of false consciousness and their purchase of two or three times as much of the miserable junk that constitutes virtually the entire market, beginning by movies, that is misery. The movie-going public is not rich, but, rather than poor, he is miserable.

This point is more unacceptable than the precedent; anyway it has not been accepted. And there is no probability that this truth of Debord has become more acceptable.

Nearly on the moment when Leibovici was programming In girum imus nocte, Cultural Studies (in France, the school of cultural practices) were diffusing the idea that, the uses being not completely definite by market, propaganda, procedure or institution, the users always keep a margin for “everyday invention”.

In the terms of the Situationnist International, the spectator was credited a priori with desire and capacity to create situations.

The prologue of In girum is simply irreconcilable with this idea. This film is difficult right from the start, which is not amiable.

The misfortune of the movie-going public, his misery, is not so mysterious as he believes, nor so complicated that social theories would like.

Every polemology of practices has to do with this so rough truth. And polemology of practices is the thing we need the most in this moment when the question of classes (new classes, of course…), or the question of subjectivities (new subjectivities, of course…) are reappearing.
NB: I have used the translation of Ken Knabb, however with some transformations.

See here the French version of this text, quite different, which has been published as a leaflet by blog&plec à Marseille, 2006.

Movies of Debord are on a good DVD by Carlotta films: here
Texts of the movies are in Oeuvres cinematographiques completes, Champ Libre, 1978.

English translation of In Girum on the site of Ken Knabb: http://www.bopsecrets.org
 

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Here is the manifesto of Ars Industrialis, an association I belong to since the beginning (2005)

ARS INDUSTRIALIS: A MANIFESTO FOR THE PROMOTION OF AN INDUSTRIAL POLITICS OF SPIRIT

Motifs and motives in the creation of Ars Industrialis

1. Our age is facing the worldwide threat that the “life of the mind” (to cite the title of Hannah Arendt’s last work, a title which in German and French can also be translated and understood as “the life of the spirit”), will be entirely subjected to the demands and requirements of the market, to the law of rapid profits for firms exploiting the technologies of what have come to be known as the culture 
industries, program industries, media, telecommunications, and lastly the technologies of knowledge, or cognitive technologies.  All of these sectors, in the expansion made possible by digitisation, tend to integrate into what was referred to a decade ago already as the convergence of the audiovisual sector, telecommunications and information technologies.  This expanding, converging sector is that of what we will call the technologies of spirit.  If the process of 
integration leading to this convergence has hitherto essentially and brutally intensified the possibilities for the control of mind and spirit, we affirm that the technologies of spirit can and must become a new age of spirit, that they can spark a renewal of spirit and issue in a new “life of the mind”.
       

2. Now, such an industrial politics must also be an industrial ecology of spirit.  The submission of technologies of spirit to sole market criteria forces them to remain in a control function, in the service of “societies of control” (to use an expression forged by William Burroughs and later picked up by Gilles Deleuze).   This function would systematise the development of applications and uses of methods of calculation, communication and consumption to favor short-term financial investments and large profits in industrial enterprises.  This function 
blocks access to these technologies for any other finality, and in particular, it systematically forbids and impedes the development of new and original social practices which these technologies not encourage but call for as an essential requirement — that is our thesis: these technologies could become the base of a new epoch of civilisation and could conduct the neutralisation of the imminent threat of chaos everyone senses. 

3. These technologies of the “soul” and of “consciousness” on which are being grafted technologies of the body and other “living” technologies, aim today at the hegemonic control and shaping of individual and collective modes of existence at every stage on life’s way.  Now, this control of existence, which is a control and a manipulation of the desires of individuals and groups, leads to the destruction, for these individuals and groups, of the very possibilities of their existence, for to exist can only mean to exist as a singularity.  More precisely, this control destroys the desire of individuals and groups, what since Freud we call their libidinal energy.  Capitalism, in the 20th century, has marshaled libido as its main energy source, an energy that, channelled into commodities, allows excess industrial production to be absorbed, by means of the capture of libido, of desires shaped to 
conform to the requirements of profitable investment.  Today, however, this capture of libido has ended up destroying it, and this incontrovertible fact represents a huge threat for industrial civilisation: it leads, inevitably, to an unprecedented global crisis. 

4. This threat to desire threatens humanity as a whole: the ruin of desire is also the ruin of possibilities of sublimation and of the constitution of a super-ego, and it consequently produces, above and beyond the economic disturbances brought on by a model casting production and consumption as opposites, extremely alarming geopolitical, political, social and psychic disorders.  These dysfunctions, veritable plagues for humanity, represent the most recent manifestations of problems that an industrial ecology of spirit and desire must solve. 

5. Desire is constituted in symbolic practices sustained by symbolic techniques or technologies.  The objects of desire are instrinsically singular, and as such, are capable of intensifying the singularity of the desiring subject.  Now, the industrial fabrication of desire, which is made possible by information and communication technologies, consists in the categorisation of singularities, i.e., in rendering calculable that which, being incomparable (the singular is by defintion that for 
which there can be no comparison) is irreducibly incalculable.  For all that, singularities are in no respect to be seen as at a safe remove from technics or from calculation, but on the contrary, as founded in practices of techniques, technologies and calculations aiming to intensify the irreducible element in all calculation.  This is immediately brought forth in all forms of art, as in this from Claudel: “there must be in the poem a number that averts counting”. The fact is, 
however, that information and communication technologies are precisely,  spiritual technologies, and that also means that they are situated in the field of hypomnémata, whose sense Foucault pinpointed as that of a “technique of the writing of self.”  This was also the major question of Plato’s philosophy with its definition of writing as hypomnesis i.e., as technical memory.  Inasmuch as they are mnemo-technologies, the industrial technologies of spirit are a new form of hypomnémata.  And as was the case for the hypomnémata in Greece and Rome, and particularly in the Stoic and Epicurean schools, and also in ancient Roman Christianity, the industrial technologies of spirit conjure new practices, that is., in the final analysis, new social orgnaisations.  For the relations of mankind to these technologies can in no case continue to be limited to uses and usages as set out in user’s manuals are marketing campaigns, which tend to guarantee nothing other than immediat profit for share-holders who, according to reports, want “two-digit rates of return” on their investments, and where possible, never below 15%.

6. Such a politics is suicidal: this capitalism is self-destructive.  By affirming the possibility of an industrial politics of spirit, our association intends to organise a struggle against this self-destructive tendency, by contributing to the invention of practices of spiritual technologies that can reconstitute objects of desire and experiences of singularity.  We believe that the development of such practices is a fundamental condition for a peaceful future in the global industrial society. 
       

7. The political-economic issue looming over our industrial future is, then, one of giving a boost to desire, and not simply giving a boost to consumption, as is frenetically and obstinately attempted in countless technocratic and artificial measures and policies that only contribute, time and again, to the aggravation of the evils they are designed to alleviate.  The industries of spirit, which then already exist, but which are off-target and in a position to destroy society instead of contributing to the foundation of a new epoch, produce all sorts of ever-growing symbolic exchanges, whose development will continue into the decades to come, as is the case today with wifi connections, and as will be the case soon with the nano-technologies.  Now, these devices and services cannot be allowed to increase to the detriment of the social fabric and the general interest.  Insofar as the issue of general interest relates back to the question of the symbolic, the defintion of 
an industrial politics of spirit requires the invention of a new form of public power and agency, bringing together skills and k nowledge of all types and from all horizons: economic agents and public institutions, research foundations and associations, economists, artists, scientists, philosophers, investors and partners in the tasks of government at all echelons, etc.
       

8. Our association is situated in Paris, France, but defines itself above all as European.  We will seek to find interlocutors, partners and members throughout Europe, and to organise activities outside of France as often as possible.  This said, our association is not only European, but international in scope and aim.  We wish to project our thinking in the above-mentioned areas to the global level, which includes the areas of education, research, science, art, the media, the organisation of radio and television services, cultural industries and private program industries, as well as national and regional development programs.
       

Besides its partners and members in Europe and on other continents, Ars Industrialis will develop in French cities a network of meeting places and activities for and by its members and correspondants. 
 

The association will energise these networks through the use of all available means of communication, and will thus have to seek the support and sponsorship of public and private organisms and institutions.

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The text of this manifesto has been signed by George Collins, philosopher and art critic, Marc Crépon, philosopher, Catherine Perret, philosopher and art critic, Bernard Stiegler, philosopher and director of IRCAM, Caroline Stiegler, jurist.

http://www.arsindustrialis.org
 

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The Society of Spectacle has been published for the first time in november 1967. The publisher was Buchet Chastel. The book was re-published by Gérard Leibovici, at the Champ Libre Press in 1971.

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Guy Debord had announced the book by having published the first chapter, La séparation achevée, (The achieved separation), in Bulletin de l’Internationale Situationniste, number 11, october 2007, so the last before the 1968 “events”.

The text has kept all his strength and flavour.

Just an example, one should use about criticism of cyberspace:

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The spectacle is the ruling order’s nonstop discourse about itself, its never-ending monologue of self-praise, its self-portrait at the stage of totalitarian domination of all aspects of life. The fetishistic appearance of pure objectivity in spectacular relations conceals their true character as relations between people and between classes: a second Nature, with its own inescapable laws, seems to dominate our environment. But the spectacle is not the inevitable consequence of some supposedly natural technological development. On the contrary, the society of the spectacle is a form that chooses its own technological content. If the spectacle, considered in the limited sense of the “mass media” that are its most glaring superficial manifestation, seems to be invading society in the form of a mere 
technical apparatus, it should be understood that this apparatus is in no way neutral and that it has been developed in accordance with the spectacle’s internal dynamics. If the social needs of the age in which such technologies are developed can be met only through their mediation, if the administration of this society and all contact between people has become totally dependent on these means of instantaneous communication, it is because this “communication” is essentially unilateral. The concentration of these media thus amounts to concentrating in the hands of the administrators of the existing system the means that enable them to 
carry on this particular form of administration. The social separation reflected in the spectacle is inseparable from the modern state — the product of the social division of labor that is both the chief instrument of class rule and the concentrated expression of all social divisions.

(The Situationnist International had the texts published with an explicit anti-copyright notice which stated that “the writings may be freely reproduced, translated or adapted, without even indicating their origin”.) 

If you read french, I have written in 2005, about Memoires de G-E Debord, a text  entitled L’Ars Memoriae de Guy Debord, published by Cahier Critique de Poésie n°9. But the great man of this publication was Boris Donné, the impeccable author of [Pour Mémoires] published by Allia.

Always with Donné, a good souvenir is the Exhibition Guy Debord, Situationnists Documents, in the International Center of Poetry Marseille, in Mars 2006. I have proposed a reading of the prologue of In girum imus Nocte, entitled Pop. Cin. Against the public of the cinema. You can find all these texts on the french blog.

This evening in Marseille, it was the first time I have seen the splendid Critique de la séparation film of Debord.

All his films on a nice DVD, see some images here: Guy Debord cinéaste.

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The achieved separation (english version)
 

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Tom Raworth has informed on his blog about the possible collapse of the Centre
International de Poésie in Marseille.

Precisely there are a lot of interrogations about the place where CIPM would
have to transfer in the next months.

Raworth writes: “For C.I.P.M., which for almost 20 years has brought poets from
all over the world (including the US and the UK) to Marseille for residencies,
readings, conferences, exhibitions and workshops, the least you could do to help is to sign the petition here.

I have alsoo signed this petition and I call to:
Centre International de Poésie Marseille

Tom Raworth

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Some facts about the reception of A Hacker Manifesto, the book of Mc Kenzie Wark, in France.

The book has been translated in french and published in 2006 fall by Aliette
Guibert, Critical Secret. As a material object, it is very different of the one
published by the Press of Harvard. A sort of paved stone, without folios, only
the numeros of the thesis. The plain idea of a manifesto, the style of counter –
culture.

Well sustained by Baudrillard, a few months before his death, the publication
draws a Technikart‘s presentation of Mc Kenzie Wark as “le penseur du mois”
(thinker of the month)…

Since Paul Mathias has given a selection and remix of the text in Philosophies
entoilées, N° 55 of “Rue Descartes”, a publication of the College International de
Philosophie.

Cahier Critique de Poésie has published my review of the book in his 14 issue, October 2007.
 
In 2007 November, Kenneth Mc Kenzie Wark was invited by Place Publique,
Marseille, for a three days meeting around “Hacker Culture, Free Culture”.

You will find here my paper for the first meeting, as well as the article in CCP.