A City Reimagined

The Situationist City. Simon Sadler. Mit Press 1998.

Situationists wanted to convert the interest of play with new ideas at the level of the city. The movements initial concerns were with art, architecture, design, and urbanism.

A precursor of flash mobs, CCTV performances, interactions with GPS and networked performance the Situationists existed to politicize the urban domain.

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Detournement can be translated as “diversion” incorporating “re routing, hijacking, and misappropriation”. Influenced by Isodore Ducasee; “Plagiarism is necessary. Progress implies it”.

The networked internet and virtual city space allows the movement of sources and codes that can be re mashed, played with to be “re-routed”.

By cutting up maps of the city Guy Debord and Asger Jorn where re coding city space, creating new patterns and urban forms. Or see Constant’s, “North New Babylon”, watercolour on collage. It is a single continuous organic structure spreading to the edges across the landscape. Unit blocks are repeating in an organic web like structure. The most famous of these images was “The Naked City”, criticises traditional mapping and at the same time investigates the relationship between various urban elements by re- assembling the map of Paris.

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“Situationists promised that their architecture would one day revolutionise everyday life and release the ordinary citizen into a world of experiment, anarchy and play.” Simon Sadler.

The HP media platform for mobile computing the city based games using GPS tracking all continue this theme of playing in city space.

Page 87

Simon Sadler, draws a comparison between Jackson Pollock’s Autumn Rhythm (1950) an abstract expressionist painting, and the webs traced by both Paris metro and London railways maps. Debord insisted that interest was because of the content however the aesthetic comparison cannot be ignored.

One thought on “A City Reimagined

  1. de.borea says:

    Is the book a critique of modern architecture, or does it show you designs that the situationists had thought up?

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