3. Report On The Construction Of Situations

May 16th, 2011 | spirit tracks

1966. University of Strasbourg Student Union funds are lifted by Situationist sympathisers to print Andre Bertrand’s short comic RETURN OF THE DURUTTI COLUMN, which used stills from Hollywood movies in a process then termed detournement: familiar materials recontextualised in opposition (or at strange angles) to their original intent. This is something so common on the internet now that most people may not know there’s a word for it. It became “culture jamming,” and now it’s simply the way we piss about on the net and do our artistic business. It’s one of the keys to cultural atemporality – everything is detourned, everything is collage, everything needs prior art. Everything is ghostly fabric. The only useful Google hit I can find for Andre Bertrand today is, funnily enough, the Wikipedia page for an attorney who specialises in copyright law.

(The Student Union’s next stunt is to release a polemic notable for praising Spies For Peace. The British anti-war group The Committee Of 100 was affiliated with Spies For Peace. Comics writer Grant Morrison’s father did prison time as a member of the Committee. Committee-related demonstrations against Greek royalty visiting London in 1963 led to the arrest of, among others, comics artist Donald Rooum (whom I knew in the 1980s as a sweet and lovely illustrator of kids’ comic strips – it was quite a shock when I later discovered him doing anarchist comics). Donald was nicked and framed by one Det. Sergeant Harold Challenor, who was later found to have been a functioning paranoid schizophrenic since approximately 1944.)


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  1. You can find Warren on Twitter: @warrenellis