Situationist International – a Conversation on the Political Potential of Art
Discussing Situationism, its history and relevance today
Situationist International is considered one of the most influential political and artistic movements of the post-war period.
A central question for this movement was alienation, seen as a societal phenomenon that was a product of liberal economic policies. The Situationist movement scrutinized this ruling economic system wherein feelings are transformed into monetary goods, as they saw people would lose agency over their own lives and become mere passive on-lookers in such a society.
The year 1961 is important in the history of Situationist International. It was then that the organization arranged a conference at Hotel Volrat Tham (currently Panorama Hotel) in Gothenburg and the meeting resulted in the fragmentation between the political and the artistic branch of the organization. As a way of financing the conference, a collective painting was made on the premise. The collective work is currently on view during the biennial and is presented at Göteborgs Konsthall. This painting stands proof for the many functions and the different faces of art; in addition the painting has the ability to document this major past event and can function as an historical artifact.
Sixty years after the Situationist International conference in Gothenburg, artist Henrik Andersson arranged a similar conference both in the vein and in the footsteps of the one at Hotel Volrat Tham, as part of this edition of the biennial, in an attempt to reflect on the past and future of the Situationist movement. To make public the conversations of this new conference and in the presence of the collective situationist painting, Göteborgs konsthall has invited Hendrik Andersson, together with artist Roxy Farhat and filmmaker Göran Hugo Olsson, to take part in a conversation regarding the ideas of Situationist International and their relevance today.
During the event parts of La Société du Spectacle, a new video essay by Farhat and Olsson inspired by the homonym book by Guy Debord, will be screened. The book contains revolutionary and critical positions of Debord, one of the founders of the Situationism, describing how mass media and consumer culture transforms people to passive consumers. In the video essay based on parts of the book, Farhat and Olsson have created a collage of contemporary photos, video footage over-circulated in mass media and online, and filmed interviews, to discuss, highlight and re-actualize the ideas of Situationism.
The programme is arranged by Göteborgs Konsthall in the frame of Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art.
Henrik Andersson is an artist, curator, writer and educator at Konstfack. Andersson works with documenting and archiving and uses montage as his main method. A selection of his earlier work has been part a.o. of Luleå Biennal (2018), Modernautställningen at Moderna Museet in Stockholm (2018), and within a solo exhibitions at Baltic Art Center in Visby (2005).
Roxy Farhat is an artist and director. Farhat’s artistic work contains of visual art, performance, film, music videos and more. Combining politics with advertising aesthetics in her works, Farhat raises feminism and anti-capitalism questions to question established identities.
Göran Hugo Olsson is one of Sweden’s most internationally celebrated filmmakers. The documentary The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 (2011) have been bestowed with several distinctions and awards, one example being at Sundance Film Festival 2011. Other reknown works are Billy Paul, Am I Black Enough for You (2008) and Om Våld (2014).