Aphorisms and Interesting Segments from The Situationist City by Simon Sadler

1. The situationists, who seem to have had difficulties getting on with “everyday” citizens, preferred to experiment on themselves, analyzing the factors affecting their mood, behavior, and choice of route as they wandered their “drift” (dérive) through the city. (20) 

2. Situationists and Independents felt that indigenous living patterns were best nurtured through the “clustering” of the city. (20)

3. But the tides are turning: CIAM knows that the tyranny of commonsense has reached its final stage, that the same attitude which, 300 years ago, found expression in Descartes’ philosophy is at last losing ground. (27)

4. Détournement would provide for a society of pleasure instead of the stoicism and sacrifice of Stalinism of the peer pressure of consumerism. (33)

5. Huizinga’s thesis, which was more widely distributed and readily acknowledged than Bakhtin’s, had a different emphasis, positing that the wellspring of all culture, or at least all great culture, was the instinct for play. (35)

6. The sleeping creator must be awakened, and his waking state can be termed ‘situationist.’ (36)

7. Détournement would permit anyone to take part in the raids on official culture, weakening the polarization between “author” and “reader,” nullifying the importance of attribution, originality, and intellectual property. (44)

8. Situationism now presupposed that it was possible for people to synthesize or manage these situations as an act of self-empowerment. (45)

9. Situationists mythologized the poor as fellow travelers on the urban margins, treating the ghetto as an urban asset rather than an urban ill. (56)

10. The Architectural Review and Potlatch basically concurred that the ideal town would be one where humane, pedestrian social spaces, endowed with mixed architectural compositions and curios, would take priority over any abstract, CIAM-ish principle for purely “rational” planning. (73)

11. “Beauty, when it is not a promise of happiness, must be destroyed.” (The Lettrist International) (73)

12. Rather than float above the city as some sort of omnipotent, instantaneous, disembodied, all-possessing eye, situationist cartography admitted that its overview of the city was reconstructed in the imagination, piecing together an experience of space that was actually terrestrial, fragmented, subjective, temporal, and cultural. (82)

13. Still, Pomerand was right to focus upon the role of urban subculture in forming language and consciousness. (96)

14. The situation construitte, the “constructed situation,” is best thought of as a sort of Gesamtkunst-werk (total work of art). (105)

15. The constructed situation would plunge its participants into an examination of individual and collective consciousness: redeeming Shakespeare’s famous dictum that “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players,” the Lettrist International envisaged the construction of situations as twenty-four-hour tragedy played out for real. (106)

16. At least two perceptions of the situationist project were apparent. One perception was held [ ] by Constant [in] his commitment to the construction of situations. Another perception of situationism, most typical of the ideas imported from the Lettrist International, expected that an ambient architecture would be created through détournement, recycling the old city and existing sources. (107)

17. Situationists claimed the analogical structure of images that occurs in advertisements and in poetry of Lautréamont as their inspiration. (108)

18. If détournement were extended to urbanistic realizations,” Debord wondered, “not many people would remain unaffected by an exact reconstruction in one city of an entire neighborhood of another. Life can never be too disorienting: détournements on this level would really make it beautiful.” (110)

19. Under unitary urbanism, however, architecture would merge seamlessly with all other arts, assailing the senses not with a single aesthetic but with a panoply of changing ambiances. (119)

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