Archive for October, 2006


Rolf Dieter Brinkmann (1940, Vechta, Germany – 1975, London) was an important poet of German “Pop-Literatur”, inspired by the American Beat Generation (Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg) and other American poets like William Carlos Williams and Frank O’Hara.

His poetry is filled with references to popular culture, from tango to Hollywood films.

Brinkmann was opposed to literature that neglects aesthetics in favour of politics. He was, nevertheless, also a political author as evidenced by social criticism found in most of his texts.

In Cologne there is an exhibition running until November, 19 2006 dedicated to the work of Rolf Dieter Brinkmann. Alongside the exhibition there will be readings, film screenings and some concerts. More informations can be found on http://www.c-o-pop.de/index.577.html.

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“Spectacle – Art – Society” is the titel of a recently published german reader about Guy Debord and the Situationist International edited by Stephan Grigat, Johannes Grenzfurthner and Günther Friesinger.

What is it all about?

The Situationist International (SI) was a very small group of international, political and artistic agitators with roots in Marxism, Anarchism and the early twentieth century European artistic avant garde. Formed in 1957, the SI was active in Europe through the 1960s and had aspirations for major social and political transformations. In the 1960s the group, split into a few different groups, including the Situationist Bauhaus, the Antinational and 2ns SI.

They originated in a small band of avante-garde artists and intellectuals influenced by Dada, Surrealism and Lettrism. The post-war Lettrist International, which sought to fuse poetry and music and transform the urban landscape, was a direct forerunner of the group who founded the magazine ‘Situationiste Internationale’ in 1957. At first, they were principally concerned with the “suppression of art”, that is to say, they wished like the Dadaists and the Surrealists before them to supersede the categorization of art and culture as separate activities and to transform them into part of everyday life.
At first, the movement was mainly made up of artists, of whom Asger Jorn was the most prominent. From 1962, the Situationists increasingly applied their critique not only in culture but to all aspects of capitalist society. Guy Debord emerged as the most important figure.
The Situationists rediscovered the history of the anarchist movement, particularly during the period of the First International, and drew inspiration from Spain, Kronstadt, and the Makhnovists. They described the USSR as a capitalist bureaucracy, and advocated workers’ councils. But they were not entirely anarchist in orientation and retained elements of Marxism, especially through Henri Lefebvre’s critique of the alienation of everyday life. They believed that the revolutionary movement in advanced capitalist countries should be led by an “enlarged proletariat” which would include the majority of waged laborers. In addition, although they claimed to want neither disciples nor a leadership, they remained an elitist vanguard group who dealt with differences by expelling the dissenting minority. They looked to a world-wide proletarian revolution to bring about the maximum pleasure.

The Barbelith Webzine gives you a deeper insight in the history and theory of situationism on http://www.barbelith.com/cgi-bin/articles/00000011.shtml.

You find a large collection of Situationist-related literature, entire books, lengthy articles, excerpts from the journals “Potlatch” and “Internationale Situationniste”, and newspaper articles on http://library.nothingness.org/articles/SI/all/.

A german review of this book written by Florian Neuner is placed in the comment section.