305MC: Spectacle 2 – Situationists & Revolution of the everyday

  • The Situationist International
  • Society as a spectacle
  • Alienation

1957 – 72 (Situationist International)

  • A revolution of everyday life
  • Both and art movement and a political one
  • In the tradition of Dadaism, Surrealism and Letterism
  • Avant – Garde
  • Anti Bourgeois
  • Radical
  • Anarchistic

The Society of the Spectacle (1967)

  • Draws on marxist theories of Alienation, Commodity Fetichism and False Consciousness
  • Prefigures Baurdrillard’s postmodern idea about simulation, simulacra & hyper reality

“In the society of the spectacle, the commodities rule the workers and the consumers instead of being ruled by them. The consumers are passive subjects that contemplate the reified spectacle.” – (Debord, 1967)

In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation. – (Debord, 1967)

The spectacle presents itself simultaneously as society itself, as a part of society, and as a means of unification. As a part of society, it is ostensibly the focal point of all vision and all consciousness. But due to the very fact that this sector is separate, it is in reality the domain of delusion and false consciousness: the unification it achieves is nothing but an official language of universal separation. – (Debord, 1967)

The Society Of Spectacle (Guy Debord, 1973)


The distortions introduced in the detourned elements must be as simplified as possible, since the main impact of a détournement is directly related to the conscious or semiconscious recollection of the original contexts of the elements. – (Debord, 1967)

  • Factory workers joined in by striking
  • Battles were fought between demonstrators and riot police
  • Student led demonstrations and strikes throughout Europe
  • Linked to anti Vietnam war and civil rights protests in the USA


  • “Never work”
  • “Be Realistic, demand the impossible”
  • “Take your desires to be reality”
  • “Under the paving stones – the beach”

The society of the Spectacle recaptures revolutionary texts and images and recycle them in the service of the status quo.

Apple Commercial (1984)

Levi’s Legacy

“The spectacle cannot be understood as an abuse of the world of vision, as a product of the techniques of mass dissemination of images. It is, rather, a Weltanschauung which has become actual, materially translated. It is a world vision which has become objectified.” – (Debord, 1967)

Hyper Reality (Short Film)

They Live! (1988)



  • Everyday life has been replaced by the spectacle
  • The spectacle presents itself a something enormously positive, indisputable and inaccessible

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