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take your desires for reality

from Wess Daniels’ “Desire and the Imagination of the Kingdom”:

Duncombe puts it in political terms:

“Progressives should have learned to build a politics that embraces the dreams of people and fashions spectacles which give these fantasies form – a politics that understands desire and speaks to the irrational; a politics that employs symbols and associations; a politics that tells good stories. In brief, we should have learned to manufacture dissent” (9).

from Jesse Cohn’s An Exemplary Failure:

In 1968, Situationist incendiaries attempted to disrupt an equation that ran something like this : my desires are only ideas in my head, and ideas are not real, therefore my desires are unreal, and I must adapt myself to reality . Instead, the Situationists called on the students and workers of Paris to “take your desires for reality.” This was not a call to mistake wishes for facts, but a call to take in the active sense of the verb : to seize, to grab hold of. The aim was to obliterate the spurious division of “reality” and “ideality” in revolutionary action.

from Psychogeography and the dérive:

The following text is taken from ‘The most radical gesture: The Situationist International in a postmodern age’ by Sadie Plant and published by Routledge. Read it, and live without dead time.

…The situationists’ desire to become psychogeographers, with an understanding of the ‘precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behaviour of individuals’, was intended to cultivate an awareness of the ways in which everyday life is presently conditioned and controlled, the ways in which this manipulation can be exposed and subverted, and the possibilities for chosen forms of constructed situations in the post-spectacular world. Only an awareness of the influences of the existing environment can encourage the critique of the present conditions of daily life, and yet it is precisely this concern with the environment which we live which is ignored.

“The sudden change of ambiance in a street within the space of a few meters; the evident division of a city into zones of distinct psychic atmospheres; the path of least resistance which is automatically followed in aimless strolls (and which has no relation to the physical contour of the ground); the appealing or repelling character of certain places – all this seems to be neglected.”
(Guy Debord, ‘ Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography)

…the situationists developed an armoury of confusing weapons intended constantly to provoke critical notice of the totality of lived experience and reverse the stultifying passivity of the spectacle. ‘Life can never be too disorientating,’ wrote Debord and Wolman, in support of which they described a friend’s experience wandering ‘through the Harz region of Germany while blindly following the directions of a map of London.’

Such disorientation was not craved for its own sake. But as a means of showing the concealed potential of experimentation, pleasure, and play in everyday life, the situationists considered a little chaos to be a valuable means to exposing the way in which the experiences made possible by capitalist production could be appropriated within a new enabling system of social relations.

from the Wikipedia entry on Situationist International:

The core arguments of the Situationist International were an attack on the capitalist degradation of the life of people and the fake models advertised by the mass media, to which the Situationist responded with alternative life experiences. The alternative life experiences explored by the Situationists were the construction of situations, unitary urbanism, psychogeography, and the union of play, freedom and critical thinking.

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