ECA: Situationist International

Wanting to know more about Situationists, I read Guy Debord’s article ‘Towards a Situationist International//1957’ (Claire Bishop, Participation, Whitechapel, London, MIT, Cambridge, 2006). Not only did I find myself on Google many times trying find the definition of words I had never heard, but I had to read it over and over many times to make sense of it.
What I immediately learnt is that the central purpose of this movement was the construction of situations (pg 96, line 6). Apparently it’s all about interventions of the material setting of life and the behaviours that it incites. Situationism was first formed as a trend within the Letterist movements, but eventually grew bigger and took over (pg 100, line 6).

Much of this article I had trouble relating to, except for a few points that I thought I understood. Debord mentions one of his ‘comrades’ that promotes an interesting idea: ‘a theory of states-of-mind districts, according to which each quarter of a city would tend to induce a single emotion, to which the subject will consciously expose herself of himself.’ (pg 96, line 34). This made me want to consider what ’emotions’ made up Melbourne. However I don’t know each corner of Melbourne City well enough to analyse it, so my mind drifted to the suburbs in which I reside. I live in Eltham North, so the first thing that came to mind was ‘calm’. I realised then that you turn the corner and arrive at Eltham and there’s a slightly different aura: it’s ever so slightly more frantic. This ‘comrade’ of Debord’s might be on to something.
This then led onto the idea that building a new space isn’t just about architecture and purpose and atmosphere, but about the emotions that come with it (pg 97, line 4). It’s all about the behaviour of the viewers as a situation, after all, what use is a magnificent new building without people to admire it?

Once I started reading about politics and propaganda, I felt lost. All I could understand from it was that the so called ‘proletariat’ – which I understand to be a collective of working-class people – have essentially dug their own graves (pg 98, line 4). On the contrary, there were some aspects of Debord’s piece that I could relate to myself and every day life. One part being that we must ‘broaden the non-mediocre portion of life, to reduce it’s empty moment as much as possible’ (pg 97, line 24). Now if that isn’t an old fashioned way of saying what teenagers of today know as ‘YOLO’, then I don’t know what is. (Definition of ‘YOLO’: you only live once; live life to the fullest.)
Another is: ‘There will be no more painters, only situationists who, among other things, make paintings’. I like the idea of banishing labels and structure – even if the idea of a ‘classless society’ seems unnatural and unimaginable.

I found myself reading one particular line over and over to try and make sense of it. ‘It is easy to see to what extent the very principle of the theatre – non-intervention – is attached to the alienation of the old world’ (pg 98, line 34). At first I thought it was just a phrase beyond my academic understanding, but when thinking about it further, I realised that we do indeed not intervene when at the theatre. We sit in our chairs like good little children and never say a word to the characters in the show about their choices and decisions. We let  them live how they choose to live and just watch from afar. In the past, it was impartible to live a certain way and society’s structures were strict – which is why I think our lack of intervening in the theatre is an alienation of the old world.
… But then I read about how we apparently psychologically identify with the hero, therefore provoke capabilities to revolutionise our own lives (pg 98, line 37). So basically my interpretation was going off in a completely different direction.

After reading the article, I have come to understand that Situationist International was modern, involved experimental research and planned on destroying the bourgeois idea of happiness. However I immediately felt like I was more confused than how I was when I began. Desperate for clarity, I resorted to Google:

situationism   noun

  1. the theory that human behaviour is determined by surrounding circumstances rather than by personal qualities.
  2. a revolutionary political theory which regards modern industrial society as being inevitably oppressive and exploitative.

I can now say I understand what Situationist International was all about. Regardless of whether Google gave an accurate definition or not, Situationist International was certainly an interesting movement.

MNC: Discourse

I find it pretty amazing how technology has changed media. Back when we were younger, or before then, the way society processed media was much more linear. The author presents discourse to the reader. But now, with the Internet and Networking and this fantastic new way of thinking, it’s much more varied. Not only does the author present discourse to the reader, but the reader presents discourse to the author, and to other readers. It’s quite the movement.

MNC: Algorithm

Algorithm:

  • An Equation
  • A Recipe
  • An IF Statement

MNC: Sound Environment

[Sound 1]

[Sound 2]

[Sound 3]

[Sound 4]

[Sounds All Together]

This assignment was a fun one to do, because it involved everyone in the group to find or make sounds to record after brainstorming what sound setting we wanted. The group decided on a park scene with a narrative that involved spies. One spy was listening in on a conversation between an undercover cop and an illegal dealer, which in the end, ended in death (however it is left uncertain which of the two has been shot). The narrative wasn’t actually necessary, but it played a part in setting the scene. We made rustling sounds for walking and recorded birds chirping to make it sound like the outdoors. The dialogue of the dealing was done via the use of two phones, so it came out distorted and muffled on purpose. However it was a little hard to understand what the dealer was saying. We decided it wasn’t necessary to change it, as you could still get the gist of what was going on without her words clear. My group worked well together to discuss and generate sounds, as well as putting it all together in the end (which I did on Audacity). Only one of the sounds was one we didn’t record ourselves – the gunshot. It can be sourced [here]. The only thing I think we could’ve done better, is if we would have used more background noises for the park, or something that made the narrative more obvious (such as police sirens or something similar). This wasn’t a difficult assignment, although it did take a fair bit of brain power to make it work. It was enjoyable.

MNC: Binary code

It’s super weird to think that everything we see and hear on the Internet is made up of ‘1’s and ‘0’s in segments of eight. Literally, everything. This is why you can read image files as sound on Audacity. Given, they just sound like a corrupted phone line, but that’s because the code of the image being read isn’t meant for that kind of reading. Cool stuff.

MNC: Morse Code

Internet history is pretty cool to learn. Back in the day, this sort of technology started with morse code. Apparently, there were huge machines that were made to push the signals across cables going through the Atlantic Ocean. The first morse code message took three weeks to transfer, and eventually blew up. But it was a good start.

ECA: Exercise 2 Animation

ECA: Exercise 2 Animation

My ‘Transdiciplinary Portrait’ for Exploring Creative Arts.

MNC: …

Okay, so I may have missed this week’s Making Network Culture tutorial. (I had a funeral – entirely not my fault.) I can’t exactly blog about what I learnt. This causes a problem. 

But the problem itself is something to blog about! This is a part of failed networking – a lack of networking. Although I tried to contact various sources to find out what I missed out on, clearly my private local network wasn’t good enough. One must extend their network in order to survive in life. It also makes for more fun and usefulness on the Internet. Networking. 

Sigh.

MNC: Shadow Network

Apparently there’s this thing called a ‘shadow network’. I mainly just like the name because it sounds cool. It’s like the Internet’s evil twin. Or like Dark Link from Legend of Zelda. Or Yami Yugi from Yu-Gi-Oh! … It’s probably best I stop there.

Hackings and issues with leaking of top-secret government information basically made it unsafe for the military to use the Internet network everyone else used (thanks Julian Assange!). Ergo, they created an entirely separate network with absolutely no wires connecting the two Internets. It’s kind of rad.

In the end though, Julian ended up getting his hands on a copy of the CD with the shadow network, so there went that plan.