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Featured 10 Jun, 2021

Open call for partners: “Beat a situationist”

Fight the Spectacle

This is an open call for partner organisations to collaborate on a hybrid and collaborative workshop in September. Read on for details.

In May and June 1968, over half a century ago, France was struck by continued civil unrest. At its height, the country’s economy came to a halt, president Charles de Gaulle secretly fled France for Germany, and a friend of prime minister Georges Pompidou offered him a gun, with the words “You will need it”.

The unrests had begun with a series of student occupations calling out capitalism, consumerism, American imperialism, and traditional institutions, and included the largest general strike ever attempted in France.
On the one side were state actors. On the other, it included François Mitterrand as a leading figure, though in the snap elections that followed the unrest, de Gaulle outmanoeuvred Mitterrand, resulting in the right wing winning its largest majority since 1919.

Also on the side of Mitterrand, were Anarchists, the French Communist Party, and The Situationist International, whose situationist theory represented an attempt to synthesise a range of theoretical disciplines, including Dada and Surrealism, into a modern and comprehensive critique of mid-20th century advanced capitalism, introduced through the commercialisation of society, spearheaded by American sociocultural influences after the Second World War.

One of the Situationists’ leading figures, Guy Debord, had begun to direct the group towards an end of their artistic phase in the first half of the 1960s, when the Situationist International started pursuing a more theoretical critique of capitalist society along Marxist lines.
With Debord’s work The Society of the Spectacle, the Situationists began to define their theory of the spectacle, the collection of social relations transmitted via the imagery of class power, and the capitalist development in which “all that was once lived has moved into representation”.

To counter this commercialisation of our environment Debord defined the concept of psychogeography as “the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organised or not, on the emotions and behaviour of individuals” and, by recognising these influences, the Situationists developed strategies to engage in class struggle by reclaiming individual autonomy from the spectacle.
Drawing on ideas first put forward by the Letterists, an earlier artistic grouping and precursor to the Situationists, they expanded on the concept of the dérive, concretised by Debord while a member of the Letterist International.

Debord defined the dérive as “a mode of experimental behaviour linked to the conditions of urban society: a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiances”, such that participants “let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there”.
In practice, the dérive is often facilitated through the presentation of a series of small directives that nudge the participant into experiencing her urban environment in a different way.

In September 2021, as part of Sound Walk September, we are hosting a collaborative, hybrid, workshop, where, in multiple places around the globe, participants will work together to deepen their understanding of the urban environment, and learn about the similarities and difference with other participating locations. They will go on an exploratory walk together, remotely, and in small groups, and will, collectively and collaboratively, construct a set of task cards around topics connected to the spectacle, urbanism, and sound walking.

We will work with the mobile app Dérive app, to realise the workshop.

Take part

Attendees will be able to participate wherever they are in the world, online, or in person at participating venues.

If you are interested to take part as an attendee, make sure you subscribe to our mailing list, where we’ll announce the participating venues, and when tickets become available.

Open call

In September 2021, walk · listen · create will host a hybrid workshop, which will both run online and, in multiple concurrent locations, offline. This workshop will be facilitated through the mobile app Dérive app, an open collaborative platform that helps its users to get lost, and will be modelled on the Dérive app workshops as described on the Dérive app website.

This workshop will be held during Sound Walk September, the yearly celebration of sound walks, as well as Sound Walk City, a new initiative from walk · listen · create, in its first year hosted by Cona, in Ljubljana.

This will be a distributed, hybrid, collaborative workshop, with a focus on walking, and the auditive aspects of the urban landscape.

We expect to work with partners in multiple physical locations, hosting both speakers and participants, and have all participants in these locations, as well as additional online participants, collaborate on the creation of a deck of task cards, which will be publicly available to the world, as a tangible outcome of this workshop.

Partners, able to provide physical venues for hosting the offline component, are encouraged to submit their interest, or desire, to participate.

This is an open call for organisations, venues, to participate in this collaborative workshop. The workshop has the title “Beat a Situationist. At his own game.” This is both tongue-in-cheek, but also a direct nod at the construction of a dérive, based on the ideas of the Situationists, where we aspire to, collaboratively, put something together that is bigger than the sum of the parts combined.

Read up on the details of the workshop (pdf), which includes a description of the workshop and a tentative schedule. To get an idea of previous Dérive app workshops, read up on workshops on the Dérive app website.

The expected date for this workshop is September 25, the last Saturday in September, and the last Saturday of Sound Walk September.

Interested? We hope so. Contact us, send a message to Babak Fakhamzadeh.

Additional details

At the moment, the details of this event are in flux. Some aspects might change. Current expectations are as per the below.

  • We use BlueJeans as our preferred platform for video conferencing. We expect to be able to connect up to 200 streams.
  • BlueJeans is similar to Zoom; you can download the app, or participate in meetings through your preferred browser.
  • As a participating venue, we hope you can source a speaker, as well as someone who takes responsibility for the smooth running of the workshop, on your end.

APA style reference

Fakhamzadeh, B. (2021). Open call for partners: “Beat a situationist”. walk · listen · create.

Open call

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Walking and talking (often employed during a walkshop).

Added by Stephen Hodge

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