Richard Barbrook: Class Wargames: Ludic Subversion Against Spectacular Capitalism (2014)

6 October 2014, dusan

“Why should radicals be interested in playing wargames? Surely the Left can have no interest in such militarist fantasies? Yet, Guy Debord – the leader of the Situationist International – placed such importance on his invention of The Game of War that he described it as the most significant of his accomplishments.

Intrigued by this claim, a multinational group of artists, activists and academics formed Class Wargames to investigate the political and strategic lessons that could be learnt from playing his ludic experiment. While the ideas of the Situationists continue to be highly influential in the development of subversive art and politics, relatively little attention has been paid to their strategic orientation. Determined to correct this deficiency, Class Wargames is committed to exploring how Debord used the metaphor of the Napoleonic battlefield to propagate a Situationist analysis of modern culture and politics. Inspired by his example its members have also hacked other military simulations: H.G. Wells’ Little Wars; Chris Peers’ Reds versus Reds and Richard Borg’s Commands & Colors. Playing wargames is not a diversion from politics: it is the training ground of tomorrow’s communist insurgents.

Fusing together historical research on avant-garde artists, political revolutionaries and military theorists with narratives of five years of public performances, Class Wargames provides a strategic and tactical manual for subverting the economic, political and ideological hierarchies of early-21st century neoliberal capitalism. The knowledge required to create a truly human civilisation is there to be discovered on the game board!” (from the back cover)

Publisher Minor Compositions, an imprint of Autonomedia, 2014
Creative Commons BY-NC 3.0 Licence
ISBN 9781570272936
444 pages
via Marcell

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See also Guy Debord’s ‘The Game of War’ – The Film (26 min, c2011)

Ken Knabb (ed.): Situationist International Anthology (1981/2006)

27 January 2014, dusan

“In 1957 a few experimental European groups stemming from the radical tradition of dadaism and surrealism, but seeking to avoid the cooption to which those movements succumbed, came together to form the Situationist International. The name came from their aim of liberating everyday life through the creation of open-ended, participatory “situations” (as opposed to fixed works of art) — an aim which naturally ran up against the whole range of material and mental obstacles produced by the present social order. Over the next decade the situationists developed an increasingly incisive critique of the global “spectacle-commodity system” and of its bureaucratic leftist pseudo-opposition, and their new methods of agitation helped trigger the May 1968 revolt in France. Since then — although the SI itself was dissolved in 1972 — situationist theories and tactics have continued to inspire radical currents in dozens of countries all over the world.

The SI Anthology, generally recognized as the most comprehensive and accurately translated collection of situationist writings in English, presents a chronological survey of the group’s activities and development as reflected in articles from its French journal and in a variety of leaflets, pamphlets, filmscripts and internal documents, ranging from their early experiments in urban “psychogeography” and cultural subversion to their lucid analyses of the Watts riot, the Vietnam war, the Prague Spring, the Chinese “Cultural Revolution” and other crises and upheavals of the sixties.

A greatly revised, and expanded edition, with over 100 pages of new material.”

First published in 1981
Translated by Ken Knabb
Publisher Bureau of Public Secrets, Berkeley, CA, 2006
No copyright. Any of the texts in this book may be freely reproduced, translated or adapted, even without mentioning the source.
ISBN 0939682044, 9780939682041
532 pages
via quackalist

Review (Not Bored!, Indymedia UK, 2007)

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See also Internationale situationniste journal, 1958-69.

N.O. Cantsin (ed.): A Neoist Research Project (2010)

19 May 2012, dusan

A Neoist Research Project is the first comprehensive anthology and source book of Neoism, an international collective network of mostly anonymous and pseudonymous subcultural actionists and speculative experimenters.

It collects more than one hundred Neoist texts and two hundred images, documenting – among others – Neoist interventions, the Neoist Apartment Festivals, definitions and pamphlets of Neoism and affiliated currents, language and identity experiments and Neoist concepts and memes such asthe shared identity Monty Cantsin.

Here’s a fistful of titles from the content: ‘What is an uh, uh, Apartment Festival??????’, ‘Blo-Dart Acupuncture &/or Ear-Piercing’, ‘Impractical Seriousness’, ‘Krononautic Divector Field Didaction’, ‘Chronicle of the Neoast Observer at the So-Called Millionth Apartment Festival’, ‘3 part action’, ‘Neoist haircut’, ‘non-participation’, ‘Philosopher’s Union soapbox stand’, ‘anything is anything’, ‘language constructions’, ‘Dyslexia’, ‘Continuity Poem (cinematic version)’, ‘A note from the editors of SMILE’, ‘Street performance actions against false infinity ‘, ‘Neoist Parking Meter Action: Pay Me to Go Away’, ‘Neoism 101: Thought Projection’, ‘Our Tactics against Stockhausen’, ‘Seven Scripts for One Week of Neoist Activity’.”

Publisher OpenMute, London, 2010
ISBN 9781906496463
246 pages

Video (moving images from A Neoist Research Project)
Audio lecture (Netzwerk Neoismus, by Florian Cramer, 98 min, in German)

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