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Re-appropriating media and reclaiming public space is central to the activities of the Surveillance Camera Players, the Institute for Infinitely Small Things, and the Billboard Liberation Front.
Each of these groups is Situationist in their intent.
Under the self proclaimed leadership of French writer and Marxist theorist Guy Debord, The Situationist International began in 1957 and disbanded in 1972 . In the tradition of Dada, Fluxus, Surrealism, collage art and appropriation the Situationists worked in opposition to what is now well-known as “The Society of the Spectacle”. Greil Marcus’s “Lipstick Traces” looks closely at the Sex Pistols as a Situationist act. The music of “Gang of Four” artfully practiced Situationist ideas. Gang of Four singer Jon King appears briefly in Radical Jesters and was enormously helpful in understanding the movement. Their song “Why Theory” closes the film.
Bill Brown of the Surveillance Camera Players is a prolific spokesman for Situationist ideas. His “Not Bored” site contains numerous writings on the movement. In his extended interview (at RadicalJesters.com) he explains ideas central to Situationist activity: psychogeography, the Dérive and the Détournement.
is the “emotional effect” of the “geographical environment”
is the means by which psychogeography is made tangible and dynamic. It is an aimless drifting or walking through urban spaces. This purposeless journeying allows us to really discover our environment. The Surveillance Camera Players, the Institute for Infinitely Small Things are literal practitioners of the Dérive.
The Surveillance Camera Players ‘ repurpose New York’s public surveillance cameras for theatrical performance.
The Institute for Infinitely Small Things has a varied and brilliant range of work for investigating both public space and language. Their website and their philosophy go much deeper than what we can show here. The website http://www.ikatun.com/institute/infinitelysmallthings/ provides insight into the assortment of their activities.
Ron English, ‘Jack Napier” and the Billboard Liberation Front of San Francisco repurpose billboards with ideas that make us stop, look, and think. From their website;
“Each time you change the Advertising message in your own mind, whether you climb up onto the board and physically change the original copy and graphics or not, each time you improve the message, you enter in to the High Priesthood of Advertisers.
Institute for Infinitely Small Things are perhaps the most scientific of the Situationists. They embody what Guy Debord called:
“A science of situations to be created, which will borrow elements from psychology, statistics, urbanism, and ethics. These elements have top coincide in an absolutely new goal: the conscious creation of new situations”