Debordagoria phantasmagorias at
Fri Apr 6 13:08:15 MDT 2001

Debord's Society of the Spectacle extends Lukacs'
analysis of the reification of capitalist culture and
social relations, and applies it to the modern mass-
mediascape.  Just as Lukacs sought to account for
cultural alienation by recourse to Marx's analysis of
commodity fetishism, for Debord "The world at once
present and absent which the spectacle makes visible
is the world of the commodity dominating all that is
lived" (thesis 37).  Thesis 4 is the key:  "The
spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social
relation among people, mediated by images."

Those who dislike aphorisms might prefer John Frow's

   "The spectacle is the fetishized form of the
    commodity in a system of representation which
    is in part to be understood as the system of
    the mass media, including advertising and design;
    in part more specifically as the social force
    of television (which can often be directly
    substituted for the word 'spectacle'); but at
    times more generally as the visual, or the forms
    taken by the gaze within a consumer-capitalist

Interestingly, this notion of the Spectacle as a
visual projection of a logic of production, of
the commodity form's logic of abstraction and
separation, was anticipated many years earlier
by Walter Benjamin in his concept of the
"phantasmagoria" of capitalist modernity.

Michael Davidson

--- MindAphid at wrote:
> im curious to find out list members opinions and
> experiences in regards to
> situationism, situationist authors like debord,
> vaneigem, jorn, etc. and
> situationist groups like the london and nyc
> psychogeographical associations.
> what type of activity and effect have they had since
> the may 68 events?  ive
> never come across any articles, reports, or second
> hand references to such
> groups.  are they generally not taken seriously?  if
> not, why?  thanks in
> advance.
>   keith

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