"Where the real world changes into simple images, the simple images become real beings and effective motivations of hypnotic behavior."
Field: Filmmaker, Writer, Anti-Artist, Socio-Political Theorist.
Background: Father of the Situationist movement and founder of Situationist International (SI), DeBord was one of the most influential "anti-artists" who sought to transcend the Surrealist legacy and combat the homogenization of western consumer culture. His definition of a situationist was "One who engages in the construction of situations." A "constructed situation" is "a moment of life concretely and deliberately constructed by the collective organisation of a unitary ambience and a game of events." DeBord wrote "The new revolutionary currents of present-day society, however weak and confused they may still be, are no longer restricted to a marginal underground: this year they are appearing in the streets." The SI influenced the postmodern movement in the creation of deliberately-staged public spectacles, merging installation art with a new form of civic activism. Echoes of their work (sans irony) can be seen most clearly in postmodern advertising and reality television. In his later years, DeBord began to believe that the integrated spectacle of state capitalism had outstripped any human ability to escape it, and grew increasingly pessimistic about the future of our culture. He wrote "the goal of the spectacle today is to turn revolutionaries into secret agents and secret agents into revolutionaries," and concluded that "the spectacle is now free to absorb what were formerly spectacle-free zones (science, history, culture): power believes that it no longer needs to think; and indeed it can no longer think." DeBord committed suicide on November 30, 1994.
Works: Howls in Favour of Sade (film, 1952), The Society of the Spectacle (1968), The Society of the Spectacle (film of the book, 1973), In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni (film, 1978)
Biographies: Guy Debord (by Anselm Jappe, 1999).
Lesson: Death remains the ultimate commodity.