Debord, Guy. The Society Of The Spectacle. New York: Zone Books, 1994. Print.
I referred to this book during two projects this term. Firstly during my personal project investigating choreography as a type of power and then in the cabaret week. Researching mass choreographies and dance trends evident in music videos linked to the idea of the Spectacle; an image-saturated and controlled/ mediated way of life seems an appropriate comparison or point of reference. Debord describes the obedience of people to the Spectacle, which I found to mirror my ideas of mass choreography as a means of controlling a population.
This book also aided the creation of my piece for the cabaret showcase. The world my short performance was set in links to Debord’s description of an ‘Intergrated Spectacle’, a recent manifestation of the Spectacle which has ‘irradiated into everything and has absolute control over production and over perception’. My character’s equalising of commodities, political stances and activists movements reflects this. The idea of ‘never enough’ and massive excess of unnecessary commodification, laid out by Debord in this book was illustrated in my performance through the listing of objects. The quality in quantity outlined by Debord as he writes about commodities was also nuanced through the large number of objects and items my character ticked off to be deemed ‘cool’ and ‘current’.
McDonough, Tom. Guy Debord And The Situationist International. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2002. Print.
The creation of our short-form cabaret performance, during the week we spent with Marisa Carnesky, evolved from an exercise in which we critiqued a corrupt system of our choice through subversion. Marisa had explained that the nature of cabaret; transgressive with performances often politically engaged and challenging every day ideas and I felt I needed to get some more background information on subversive art forms.
This book helped me to understand the concept of ‘détournement’, a tool I used in creating my performance. I discovered that détournement performance can use a variation on previous work or ideas, resulting in work which is antithetical to the original, reusing some of the characteristic elements in the original (mimeses). In doing this, the images produced by the Spectacle get altered and subverted so the meaning opposes what was originally intended. From this research I was able to look into ‘Culture Jamming’, what some writers refer to as a present day détournement.
I also learnt that the Situationists critiqued advanced capitalism, a theme present in my cabaret piece. After reading about the SI’s attack on the fake models advertised by the mass media, and Debord’s description of ‘spectacular rebellions’ (‘dissastisfaction itself became a commodity’) I made the choice to use the image of Vice, a stereotypically anti establishment media company to critique the trend-politics (this is the idea of ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ of a political movement or idea simply because it is ‘cool’ at the time).