Dominique Routhier: With and Against
The Situationist International in the Age of Automation
No other art movement has so profoundly influenced radical politics as the Situationist International. But beyond the clichés about its purported leader Guy Debord, the “society of the spectacle,” détournement and dérive, lies a more complex story about key historical shifts in the composition of capital, work, labor, art, and revolutionary theory during the 1950s and 60s.
‘With and Agains’t reframes the history of the Situationist International as a struggle to come to terms with the then-emerging ideologies of cybernetics and automation. Through each of the book’s four chapters, Dominique Routhier dissects Situationist pamphlets, documents, artworks, and objects that refract elements of a “cybernetic hypothesis”: the theoretically hyperbolic belief that technological progress, computers and automation make class struggle and the idea of revolution obsolete.
With equal attention to aesthetic detail and to the broader contours of political economy, this book serves as a critical intervention in art history as well a call to reconsider, more broadly, the contemporary lessons of the most political of all artistic avantgardes.