Adverts

Open Access Articles- Top Results for Guy Debord

Guy Debord

For the town in Kentucky, see Debord, Kentucky.
</td></tr>
Guy Louis Debord
File:Debord.gif
Born (1931-12-28)December 28, 1931
Paris, France
Died November 30, 1994(1994-11-30) (aged 62)
Bellevue-la-Montagne, Haute-Loire, France
Era 20th-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Marxism, Letterist International, Situationist
Main interests
Social theory
Reification
Commodity fetishism
Class struggle
Notable ideas
Spectacle
Détournement
Psychogeography
Dérive
Recuperation
Signature 150px

Guy Louis Debord (Template:IPA-fr; December 28, 1931 – November 30, 1994) was a French Marxist theorist, writer, filmmaker, member of the Letterist International, founder of a Letterist faction, and founding member of the Situationist International (SI). He was also briefly a member of Socialisme ou Barbarie.

Early life

Guy Debord was born in Paris in 1931. Guy's father, Martial, was a pharmacist who died due to illness when Guy was young. Guy's mother, Paulette Rossi, sent Guy to live with his grandmother in her family villa in Italy. During World War II, the Rossis left the villa and began to travel from town to town. As a result, Guy attended high school in Cannes, where he began his interest in film and vandalism.[1] As a young man, Debord actively opposed the French war in Algeria and joined in demonstrations in Paris against it.[2]

Involvement with the Letterists

Debord joined the Letterist International when he was 19. The Letterists were led dictatorially by Isidore Isou until a widely agreed upon schism ended Isou's authority. This schism gave rise to several factions of Letterists, one of which was decidedly led by Debord upon Gil Wolman's unequivocal recommendation.[3] In the 1960s, Debord led the Situationist International group, which influenced the Paris Uprising of 1968. Some consider his book The Society of the Spectacle (1967) to be a catalyst for the uprising.[4]

Founding of the Situationist International

In 1957, the Lettrist International, the International Movement for an Imaginist Bauhaus, and the London Psychogeographical Association gathered in Alba, Italy, to found the Situationist International, with Debord having been the leading representative of the Lettrist delegation. Initially made up of a number of well known artists such as Asger Jorn and Pinot Gallizio, the early days of the SI were heavily focused on the formulation of a critique of art, which would serve as a foundation for the group's future entrance into further political critiques. The SI was known for a number of its interventions in the art world, which included one raid against an international art conference in Belgium during 1960 that included a large pamphlet drop and significant media coverage, all of which culminated in the arrest of various situationists and sympathizers associated with the scandal. In addition to this action, the SI endeavored to formulate industrial painting, or, painting prepared en masse with the intent of defaming the original value largely associated with the art of the period. In the course of these actions, Debord was heavily involved in the planning and logistical work associated with preparing these interventions, as well as the work for Internationale Situationniste associated with theoretical defense of the Situationist International's actions.[5]

Political phase of the Situationist International

In the early 1960s Debord began to direct the SI toward an end of its artistic phase, eventually excluding members such as Jorn, Gallizio, Troche, and Constant - the bulk of the "artistic" wing of the SI - by 1965. Having established the situationist critique of art as a social and political critique, one not to be carried out in traditional artistic activities, the SI began, due in part to Debord's contributions, to pursue a more concise theoretical critique of capitalist society.

With Debord's 1967 work, The Society of the Spectacle, and excerpts from the group's journal, Internationale Situationniste, the Situationists began to formulate their theory of the spectacle, which explained the nature of late capitalism's historical decay. In Debord's terms, situationists defined the spectacle as an assemblage of social relations transmitted via the imagery of class power, and as a period of capitalist development wherein "all that was once lived has moved into representation".[citation needed] With this theory, Debord and the SI would go on to play an influential role in the revolts of May 1968 in France, with many of the protesters drawing their slogans from Situationist tracts penned or influenced by Debord.[6][7]

After the Situationist International

In 1972, Debord disbanded the Situationist International due to the fact that he had either expelled or lost all of the original members, including Asger Jorn and, in 1972, Raoul Vaneigem, who wrote a biting criticism of Debord and the International.[8] Debord then focused on filmmaking with financial backing from the movie mogul and publisher, Gérard Lebovici (éditions Champ Libre), until Lebovici's mysterious death. Debord was suspected of Lebovici's murder. Distraught by these accusations and his friend's death, Debord took his films and writings out of production until after his death, when he agreed to have his films released at the request of the American researcher, Thomas Y. Levin.[9] Debord's two most recognized films date from this period: a film version of Society of the Spectacle (1973) and "In Girum Imus Nocte Et Consumimur Igni" (1978).

After the dissolution of the Situationist International, Debord spent his time reading, and occasionally writing, in relative isolation in a cottage at Champot with Alice Becker-Ho, his second wife. He continued to correspond on political and other issues, notably with Lebovici and the Italian situationist Gianfranco Sanguinetti.[10] He focused on reading material relating to war strategies, e.g. Clausewitz and Sun Tzu, and he designed a war game with Alice Becker-Ho.[11]

Debord was married twice, to Michèle Bernstein and Alice Becker-Ho, however, these were open relationships. Debord had noted relationships with other women, including Michèle Mochot, the daughter of a surrealist. Bernstein produced a vaguely fictional account of intimate details of the open relationships Mochot and she had with Debord in her novel, All The King's Horses.

Debord's alcohol consumption became problematic for his health, giving him a form of polyneuritis brought on by his excessive drinking. Apparently, in order to end the suffering induced by this condition, he committed suicide,[12] by shooting himself in the heart at his property in Champot, near Bellevue-la-Montagne, Haute-Loire, on November 30, 1994. Just before his death, he filmed (although did not publish) a documentary entitled, "Son art et son temps" (His Art and his Time), an "autobiography" that focused primarily on social issues in Paris in the 1990s. It has been suggested that this dark depiction of Debord's "time" was a suicide note of sorts.

On January 29, 2009, fifteen years after his death, Christine Albanel, Minister of Culture, classified the archive of his works as a "national treasure" in response to a sale request by Yale University.[13][14] The Ministry declared that "he has been one of the most important contemporary thinkers, with a capital place in history of ideas from the second half of the twentieth century."[15] Similarly, Debord once called his book, The Society of the Spectacle, "the most important book of the twentieth century".[citation needed] He continues to be a canonical and controversial figure particularly among European scholars of radical politics and modern art.[citation needed]

Written works