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As all that is solid melts to air and everything holy is profaned...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Situationist International vs Typhonian OTO

1. Links between Situationist International and Typhonian OTO

1.1Isidore Ducasse aka Comte de Lautreamont

1.2 Arthur Rimbaud

1.3 Kenneth Grant (born 1924)- Typhonian OTO

1.4 Guy Debord (born 1931) - Situationist International

2.Here is something to wonder about.

2.1 Just been reading ‘The Game of War’ [Andrew Hussey: Jonathan Cape: 2001] which is a biog of Guy Debord.

2.1.1 Pages 22/3 reveal that Debord was influenced/ fascinated by Ducasse/ Lautreamont Quote :

The true aim of Lautremont’s poetry was to launch a series of attacks against both his readers and the society which produced them, to ‘cretinise’ the reader with the poison of his poetic texts , which substituted evil for good, ugly for beautiful, the irrational for the rational, in the name of a dramatised perpetual conflict of the ‘all-powerful Self’ against the universal law of ‘the Creator’ . Lautreamont wrote that his poetry aimed to expose the hypocrisy of all moral structures.

2.1.2 Page 30 reveals that Debord was also influenced by the poetry of Arthur Rimbaud. Quote:

Debord was particularly inspired by Rimbaud’s hallucinatory and fragmented epic of disgust, denial and confession, A season in hell. He was entranced by the way in which Rimbaud had composed this work during a period of boredom and frustration… It was of key significance for Debord that the prose poems of A Season in Hell describe a world where visionary art, ‘a rational disordering of the senses’. overwhelms the misery and insufficiency of daily life.

2.2 In Chapter 1 of ‘Outside the Circles of Time ‘ [ Frederick Muller: 1980] Kenneth Grant discusses the importance of both Lautreamont and Rimbaud , as well as the Surrealists for his construction of ‘magick’.

2.2.1 But , whilst Grant developed and extended the work of his immediate forbears - Edward Alexander Crowley and Austin Osman Spare-, Debord distanced himself from his forbears - surrealist Andre Breton and letterist Isidore Isuo. . Specifically Debord rejected the later surrealists fascination with the ‘occult ‘ [but can’t find quote from Hussey].

2.2.2 However, it could be argued that Grant’s ‘development’ of Crowley and Spare was facilitated by their absence (Crowley died in 1947, Spare in 1956) and so was more free to interpret their work than Debord was to interpret that of Breton and Isou. Breton did not die until 1966 and Isou is still alive.

3. Beyond the Spectacle: the Magical Revival

3.1 Although there is no direct link beyond their appreciation of Rimbaud and Lautreamont between Debord and Grant , it is interesting and irrationally significant that 1972 marks both an end and a beginning. The end was the dissolution of the Situationist International and the beginning was Grant’s publication of ‘The Magical Revival’.

3.2 To conclude: I suggest that :

3.2.1 The work and life of Guy Debord and the Situationist International must be analysed, understood and critiqued from an occult perspective.

3.2.2 The work and life of Kenneth Grant and the Typhonian OTO must be analysed, understood and critiqued from a political perspective.

3.2.3 Only thus will the necessary Hegelian / dialectical synthesis of their contradictory positions and practices be constructed.

3.3.3 The development of ‘punk’ into and beyond ‘chaos magic’ can - for those with the imagination to do so - be ‘read’ as a necessary [if not yet fulfilled] synthesis of the Debord / Grant dichotomy.


Blogger . said...

No surprizes that the Situationists imbibed a heady dose of mysticism from their Surrealist mentors. I actually think though that much of the structure of Situationist thought bears the imprint of this. You could compare the notion of the spectactle obscuring reality to the Hindu notion of maya/illusion. The notion of a future perfectability of humans also has antecedents in gnosticism and alchemy. I have come to think that the latter notion can be dubious - a potentially totalitarian masking of the contradictions inherent in humanity. I also have come to suspect the notion of desire as an unconditionally liberatory force - desire is formed within society, and male desire in particular is not always a good thing imho. Still plenty of good stuff to take from the situs though.

8:37 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the post very much. You lost me in 3.3.3, maybe am I lacking imagination.

On understanding Debord's influences, the theories of Lukacs, Castoriadis, Lefebvre , possibly Gabel, plus Mr Marx, are as important as dada/surrealism/lettrism.

And is the necessary dialectical synthesis going to take place simply between Debord and Grant or, do we take a couple of steps back and attempt some kind of synthesis between western occultism and revolutionary theory in general? Possibly this will be more fruitful. But who is we?

10:35 am  

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