Tuesday, March 17, 2015

3/17 Wark's Ch. 1-8 Discussion - Emma Reigel

Wark's reading was very hard to grasp solid facts from. However, I did enjoy her analysis of modern day issues and tracing of history. I found Chapter 2, The Critique of Everyday Life to be very interesting. Situationists and their movement described as being against "this obscure conspiracy of limitless demands," (Wark, 13) seem to be a valuable part of the society, even if they can't change anything. They allow society to at least have an awareness and to see OR disagree with their idea of limitless demands harming society. Though they don't get much credit or try to really "rub in" their facts and opinions, the fact that they try to make people aware of the potential problem of over-consuming is helpful in and of itself.  I found it interesting that they're movement was during many of the civil rights movements in the 60's and 70's. Even earlier in the late 50's I thought it was unique that many of the Situationists were artists and used their art to display their emotions and opinions of political society. Post-Situationist literature also seems to be very important. The most famous, Debord, discussed Situationist ideals in regards to revolution and the intellectual division of labor, critiquing the every day life as a totality, and worked upon an alternative plan to this over-consuming, political inequality (Wark, 14). Debord is for the hippies, for the liberals, not for the conservative section of society that are so set in their ways, and enjoy the inequality of politics, economics, and society. Though the Situationist International Movement failed in the late 60's in France and Italy, it showed that there were people who were not pleased with the way things were working (Wark, 15).

The idea that a revolution cannot take place in the 20th/21st century is interesting, and I tend to agree with this. Though there is civil unrest, and small scale revolutions (as scene in Ferguson, Missouri), ultimately, I think the revolution start would quickly be ended and would fail. I believe that the government has infiltrated every aspect of society and also would not allow for a revolution to even fully begin. The power of the government has become hugely greater than it was when movements were allowed and able to change. Also, the people seem to have become indifferent about the current situation, not feeling their necessary need to get into any argument or cause. This could be related back to the idea of revolution and revolt through the web. Many people may click the "like" button or read articles passively, as PCH discussed, but do not chose to actively do anything about it in their reality. This is a downfall of how the internet has changed society. Less personal interaction with other like-minded people, seems to have maybe caused a bit of the lesser-passionate causes and activists.

"To be at war with the whole world lightheartedly," (Wark, 15) really helped me understand the Situationists ideas. Also, the fact that the word lightheartedly shows their lack of severe effort. Another quote from the book that made me realize that the Situationists, though the movement was very much real, did not actively stand against and rebuke the things they hated most, politics. Daniel Cohn-Bendit said "It is beautiful to contribute to the ruination of this world. What other success did we have?" (Wark, 15). This was stated about being in the European Parliament. I find it interesting that people can hate something, yet purposely and dutifully contribute to the ruin.  How does this help, and why would they even bother to assert they were against it if they are willing to contribute TOWARDS the problem??

Culture defined by the Situationists is plagiarizing, seducing, and detouring of past texts, images, ideals, practices, etc. (Wark, 16). The idea that everything is rather remixed than created goes along with the topic of remixing we have discussed in the class. And the overall agreement we had that most often things are, indeed, remixed rather than organic. This, as Wark points out, can be negative in many ways, especially in the Situationist texts. The idea that Situationists is an "offspring" of Marxism is interesting and I tend to agree with the idea. The comparison to punk rebellion and arachist dumpster-diving is also easily seen, but I tend to agree less with the punk rebellion, as they are a little more "in your face," than Situationists (Wark, 16). The idea of the Situationists seeing the world as a game and they are playing in it is interesting and shows how they viewed their cause. The actions of the self in every day life can be small changes that would ultimately change every day life, if enough people consciously acted throughout the day, and chose to lessen their reliance on the power of the economy, distributors, and political departments. Acting from behind the scenes could be a positive to this movement, however it makes it seem like the change would take MUCH longer (Wark, 17). If one becomes disinterested in the world and its games and consumption, one could live a much lighter life and not be a contributor to what they hate - the power of the establishment. Their idea to not take the world seriously helps one go throughout life worrying less, but we should (i think) take it seriously, because it is our reality and we do have to live within society, unless you want to go run off into the rainforest (Wark 18). However, Dubord commented on even in the bad days he did not leave the city, which shows that they people of the movement took the world's issues lightheartedly, which is a good thing to do when it is an issue that you, yourself, cannot change (Wark 18).  To me, their "Live without dead time," mantra means that you should actively live and live your life the way you want the world to be - or as much as you can within societies confinements (Wark, 19).

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