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Themesicon: navigation pathArt and Cinematographyicon: navigation pathDebord

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and authentic sense defined by the SI, the elements of the destruction of the spectacle must precisely cease to be works of art. There is no such thing as situationism or a situationist work of art nor for that matter a spectacular situationist.» [12] Indeed, the conference members subsequently approved a suggestion by Attila Kotányi to call the products of such aesthetic activity on the part of the SI «anti-Situationist» given that truly Situationist conditions had yet to be realized. Similarly, Debord insists—in a formulation astonishingly reminiscent of Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory—that «only the real negation of culture can preserve its meaning. It can no longer be cultural. Thus it is what in some way remains at the level of culture, but with a completely different meaning« [13] . The contradictions and dangers of a radically negative cultural critique that nevertheless insists on the production of (anti)art objects were a topic of continuing polemical debate within the ranks of the SI. Yet they were very aware of what they themselves described as the «[…] ambiguous and dangerous policy whose risks the SI had to run by consenting to act in culture while being against the


entire present organization of this culture and even against all culture as a separate sphere. Nor is this most intransigent oppositional attitude and program any less ambiguous and dangerous because it nevertheless has to coexist with the present order.» [14] This strategic concession is perhaps nowhere more evident than in the SI’s relationship to that most compromised medium, the cinema.

4. The Situationistist International and the Cinema

The first official articulation of the SI position on cinema occurs in a subsection of one of the first articles in the first issue of IS in 1958 entitled, indicatively, «For and Against the Cinema« [15] «Cinema is the central art of our society,» the editorial begins, and the formal and anecdotal expression in the cinema as well as it material infrastructure are «the best representation of an epoch of anarchically juxtaposed inventions (not articulated but simply combined).« [16] But rather than making use of the extraordinary capacities opened up by its technical innovations, so the argument continues, the cinema offers a passive substitute to unitary artistic activity, an exponential

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