Wednesday, 6 June 2012


Please note that the programme has been updated with the venues. Most of the panels will take place in Fulton 104, and McKenzie Wark's keynote will be at 6pm in Fulton A Lecture Theatre.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

McKenzie Wark's Keynote Talk

A (Post) Situationist, (Pre) Situationist Aesthetics

Fulton A Lecture Theatre, 6pm (Friday 8th June)

McKenzie Wark
The New School for Social Research

There can of course be no such thing as a Situationist aesthetics, there can only be one that anticipates the realization and overcoming of the aesthetic into everyday life. Hence our topic is necessarily Pre-Situationist aesthetics. The particular examples I want to talk about are Debord's films of the 70s: Society of the Spectacle and Refutation of All Judgements. Based on interviews with Debord's film editor, I will talk about the process by which these films were made, but also how they are something more than theory texts illustrated with détourned images. There's a critical logic to the editing as well. These films were of course made after the dissolution of the Situationist International, and so in that sense are post-Situationist. This presentation is part of a work in progress called The Spectacle of Disintegration, to be published by Verso in March 2013.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Here's Three Chords, Now Form a Journal

On Thursday 7th June, the evening before the conference, Minor Compositions will be launching Punkademics (ed. Zack Furness) at the Cowley Club. All welcome, especially anyone down for the conference!


:: A Book Release / Discussion :: Brighton, June 7th, 2012 ::
Cowley Club (, 6PM
12 London Road Brighton BN1 4JA

Book Release & Discussion with McKenzie Wark, Richard Gilman-Opalsky, and Stevphen Shukaitis.

In the thirty years since Dick Hebdige published Subculture: The Meaning of Style, the seemingly antithetical worlds of punk rock and academia have converged in some rather interesting, if not peculiar, ways. A once marginal subculture documented in homemade ‘zines has become fodder for dozens of scholarly articles, books, PhD dissertations, and conversations amongst well-mannered conference panelists.

At the same time, the academic ranks have been increasingly infiltrated by professors and graduate students whose educations began not in the classroom, but in the lyric sheets of 7” records and the cramped confines of all-ages shows. And taking up the call to learn three chords and form a band, academics in recent years have extended DIY tactics into the academic world in terms of anything from autonomous publishing to free schools.

Come join us to celebrate the release of Punkademics, a collection of essays exploring the bastard convergences-mutations of punk rock and the academy.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Registration Matters

Please note that after registering for the conference, you need to send a separate e-mail to This will allow us to keep you informed about the day, and gives us a definite idea of how many attendees we are to expect. Thanks.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Registration Open and Early Programme Announced

Registration for the conference is now open. Information is available via the tabs above, along with information relating to travel and accommodation.

Please also see the tabs above for an early version of the conference programme.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Call for Papers Deadline Approaching

Please note, there are only ten days left in which to submit an abstract for the conference detailed below. The deadline of the Call for Papers is 16th March.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Call for Papers - Situationist Aesthetics: The SI, Now.

University of Sussex, Brighton, UK – Friday 8th June 2012

Keynote: McKenzie Wark (The New School, NY), author of The Beach Beneath the Street: The Everyday Life and Glorious Times of the Situationist International (2011), Gamer Theory (2007) and Hacker Manifesto (2004).

Since the beginning of the movement there has been a problem as to what to call artistic works by members of the SI. It was understood that none of them was a situationist production, but what to call them? I propose a very simple rule: to call them ‘antisituationist.’ We are against the dominant conditions of artistic inauthenticity. I don’t mean that anyone should stop painting, writing, etc. I don’t mean that that has no value. I don’t mean that we could continue to exist without doing that. But at the same time we know that such works will be coopted by society and used against us. Our impact lies in the elaboration of certain truths which have an explosive power whenever people are ready to struggle for them. At the present stage the movement is only in its infancy regarding the elaboration of these essential points.
Attila Kotányi at the Fifth Conference of the SI, 1961

Is it oxymoronic, heretical or just plain wrong to talk about Situationist aesthetics? The Situationist International (SI) condemned attempts to discuss its work in terms of aesthetics, but perhaps it is now time to brush the SI against the grain.

When it first announced its programme, the SI insisted that ‘There is no such thing as Situationism’. A few years later, before expelling its members deemed to be too invested in artistic production, the SI declared that in an age of spectacle any work of art produced by a Situationist must necessarily be ‘antisituationist’. The SI’s tactical intransigence regarding the political value of the aesthetic, and its refusal of the possibility of a specifically Situationist aesthetic, threw up problems that remained unresolved by the time of the SI’s dissolution. Since 1972, particularly in Anglophone contexts, Situationist practices have penetrated an array of cultural spheres, and much cultural production which the SI would have dismissed as spectacular has claimed some Situationist influence.

The SI located itself within but against culture. This symposium asks whether such a position is tenable, and what possibility might there be for Situationist aesthetics after all. Do cultural phenomena such as punk, or the current psychogeography industry, for example, work as or against Situationist aesthetics? Is it possible to identify art works and/or practices indebted to the SI that do not recuperate its politics but fortify and develop them? 

Possible themes include, but are not limited to:
·           the work of Guy Debord and other members of the Situationist International
·           the work of artists, writers, thinkers or film-makers proximate to or influenced by the SI
·           critiques of the SI
·           (post-)Situationist theory now
·           détournement, plagiarism, and recuperation
·           spectacular and anti-spectacular aesthetics
·           the uses and abuses of psychogeography
·           punk and art writing

Please submit proposals of no more than 250 words for papers or presentations of 20 minutes to Sam Cooper at by 16th March 2012. This conference is funded by the University of Sussex's Centre for Visual Fields.