2006 Abstracts Stage 2

Attacking the Spectacle: from the Situationists to Fight Club

Ollie Tritton, 2006, Stage 2

The project will examine the problems that confronted the Situationist International from 1957 to 1968 and show how those same problems are addressed almost half a century later in the film, Fight OutlineClub. Aim: To argue that that the problems faced by the SI are still evident today and that the events presented in Fight Club are symptomatic of this. Method: The following aspects of both Situationist thought and the themes discussed in Fight Club will be used to support my argument: – Commodification and Consumerism: Both Guy Debord and Tyler Durden felt society had become ‘over-reliant’ on material possessions. – The Society of the Spectacle: The product of this over-reliance. Debord’s term for the vicarious nature of modern life. – Detournement: The process of defacing or editing already existing pieces of art, film, music, literature or architecture. Tyler’s assignments in Fight Club are deeply rooted in this idea. – The LA Riots, the Strasbourg Scandal, May 1968 and ‘Project Mayhem’: These events marked the culmination of both SI thought and Tyler’s desires in Fight Club. – Situationist Film and Fight Club Itself: Both looked to push the boundaries and confront traditional cinematic norms. – Terrorism: Could the Situationists be viewed as terrorists? The members of ‘Project Mayhem’ certainly could. Is terrorism in fact necessary for change? – Generation X: The events of May ’68 marked a culmination of social unrest, but as “the middle children of history” does our generation have anything left for which to fight? Sources include: ‘Fight Club’- David Fincher, ‘The Society of the Spectacle’- Guy Debord, ‘Guy Debord and the Situationist International’- Tom McDonough, and ‘The Culture Industry- Theodor Adorno. Information from the Internet, magazines and newspapers will also be used to illustrate my project.

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