Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Situationist concept of the “détournement”

The détournement is a way to show the disagreement with some concepts in the society and its goal is to bring up a new message to the audience sight. On the détournement practice, artists are making a transformation on a previous work and create a new work which has an aggressive or opposite meaning compare to the original work. The original media work that is détourned must be somehow familiar to the aim of the audience so that it can value the opposition of the new message from the artist.

It started by the International Situationist movement in post-war France and northern Europe and it developed truly fast into a powerful and subversive critique of modern commodity society in the 60s. Since there is no limit to creativity in the artwork and no boundary for correcting or transforming the piece of art the détournement practice developed fast. It basically started to be a main core in the contemporary capitalism. The détourned fundamentals are categorized into two types. First, it is a minor détournements which are about elements that are not truly important by themselves and they gain their meaning from being placed in a new context. for example: everyday objects. Second, it is a deceptive détournement which already are major essentials in the contexts like famous painting or philosophical text that obtain the new sense by being placed in the new context.

In 60s the concept of détournement has had a popular influence amongst contemporary radicals, and the technique can be seen in action in the present day when looking at the work of Culture Jammers including the Cacophony Society, Billboard Liberation Front, and Adbusters. Some of the good examples are Nike, Pepsi and Diesel.

Détournement position in the urban realm today is truly involved with all different issues of the modern civilization but since media pay a special attention to conflicts and politics consequently détournement started to track that path. Based on the numerous wars and harshness in the modern world artists started to focus on these particular subjects and put the light on the failure of the modern humanity and the influence of the modernism in the world. The Neue Slowenische Kunst work is an example of détournement with extremely political vision. It is a controversial political art collectives that publicizes itself in 1984 and it has a long history of aggressive détournement of intense political ideologies. Also in music world they are several industrial music groups who recognize as a political détournement such as Die Krupps, Nitzer Ebb, KMFDM, and Front 242.

In the modern urbanism the détournement picks the original work faithfully, apply the acrimonious fact or idea, mimic the role of the original work and come up with the result which is much stronger and identifiable than the original work. I personally think one of the goals of the détournement is capture the public attention and show the dreadful side of the society and alarm them by their work. Below are some example of the détournement work that they can identify as a good illustration of political and conflict détournement. Also, during our trip to Portugal I was looking around the town to discover détournement work and amazingly I found some good examples in the suburb area.

Works Cited
1.Debord, Guy and Wolman. Gil. J. Methods of Détournement
2.A User’s Guide to Détournement, http://www.bopsecrets.org
3.Politics of Play: Situationism, Détournement, and Anti-Art, http://forum.llc.ed.ac.uk
4.Vaneigem, Raoul. "The Revolution in Everyday Life". The Situationist, International Text Library at Nothingness.org. (9 March 2008)
5.Wikipedia, Détournement

1 comment:

L said...

seems like this post was not proofread before it was posted , some grammatical errors in wording/sentence structures .etc

ideas are pretty thought provoking and interesting though