We don’t know what to say. Sequences of words are repeated; gestures are recognized. Outside us. Of course some methods are mastered, some results are verified. Often it’s amusing. But so many things we wanted have not been attained, or only partially and not like we imagined. What communication have we desired, or experienced, or only simulated? What real project has been lost?

☛ Guy Debord, Critique de la séparation, 1961, opening sequence. Translation by Ken Knabb; read more at The Bureau of Public Secrets).

Original French version:

On ne sait que dire. La suite des mots se refait, et les gestes se reconnaissent. En dehors de nous. Bien sûr, il y a des procédés maîtrisés, des résultats vérifiables. C’est très souvent amusant. Mais tant de choses que l’on voulait n’ont pas été atteintes; ou partiellement, et pas comme on le croyait. Quelle communication a-t-on désirée, ou connue, ou seulement simulée? Quel projet véritable a été perdu? (Critique de la séparation by Guy Debord, in Oeuvres complètes, Paris: Gallimard, ([1961]2006), p. 541)

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Guy Debord at Cannes, 1951
Guy Debord at Cannes, 1951. In Contre le cinéma by Guy Debord: “Photographed –on intentionally damaged footage– published in 1952 in the journal Ion”, Institut Scandinave de Vandalisme Comparé, 1964, p. 11. Image scanned from Oeuvres complètes (Paris: Gallimard, 2006)

The photo shows Guy Debord at Cannes, in 1951. It is reproduced in Oeuvres complètes (Paris: Gallimard, 2006). The same photo was used for the cover design of Guy Debord and the Situationist International: Texts and Documents, ed. by Tom McDonough (MIT Press, 2004; see back cover for the caption).

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