Jeu de la Guerre

2013-11-20 16.32.23

Or, “Game of War” was Guy Debord’s attempt at a strategy war game. In his own words it “embodie[s] the dialectic of all conflict”.

McKenzie Wark has a fascinating piece from Cabinet Magazine on ‘Debord as Strategist’ from a few years ago. It situates his work in opposition to Constant and his New Babylon project. Alexander Galloway designed an online version 6 years ago but ran into some legal difficulties (see the ‘more information’ tab in the link) with Debord’s estate. Michael Stevenson has some details of a presentation Galloway gave on that project, here.

I’ve recently purchased the game and accompanying book (see photo above!) and will be playing it with colleagues in the next few weeks. I’ll report back when we do.

A Cavalier History of Situationism: An Interview with McKenzie Wark

3D-printed Guy Debord action figures (2012). Produced by McKenzie Wark, design by Peer Hansen, with technical assistance by Rachel L. Taken from Rhizome.

A great and relaxed interview with McKenzie Wark over at Rhizome on his latest chronicling of the Situationist International, ‘The Spectacle of Disintegration’ (Verso). Some good stuff on the attention economy, everyday surveillance, and new technological worlds.

Walking the world’s megacities

The Guardian have a started weekly series on walking in the city. The first instalment was Tokyo. The second is an audio slideshow of New York. As I’ve just finished Rebecca Solnit’s classic Wanderlust: A History of Walking it seemed apt to post links to it. The video above is an extract from Michael de Certeau’s much referenced book The Practice of Everyday Life, from the chapter ‘Walking in the City’. Another famous writer of a specific kind of walking was Guy Debord, a member of the Situationist movement and inventor of the concept of the dérive or ‘drift’. These unplanned, experimental walks were meant to re-envisage the urban environment for the participant, and was a way of resisting against the formalisation of the modern city by urban planners and architects. An early article on The Theory of the Dérive (1958) is available here. Tim Ingold has also written extensively on the cultural dimensions of walking. ‘Culture on the Ground: The World Perceived Through the Feet’ is a particularly interesting account, and is free to download from the Journal of Material Culture, here.