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New Buzz around McKenzie Wark Attests to the Continued Relevance of The Situationist International

Matthew Schantz28 June 2013

In an interview, a new project inspired by the recent discovery of the United States' pervasive internet surveillance, and several new excerpts of his latest book, The Spectacle of Disintegration: Situationist Passages out of the Twentieth CenturyMcKenzie Wark demonstrates how looking back to the Situationists can inform our views of Internet culture today.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Review of Books, Wark discusses his inspiration for writing about the Situationists, specifically how he sees their work anticipating many issues faced by late-capitalist society in the age of the internet.

Publishers Weekly 
lauds The Spectacle of Disintegration as a “discerning and insightful” book whose appeal “exceeds that of historical analysis through its ludic intelligence and the breadth of material employed.”

On a similar note, First of the Month praises Wark for both his account of René Viénet’s protests of the French Left’s infatuation with Maoism and his looking at the Situationist International movement holistically, rather than focusing singularly on Debord. First of the Month is also providing a lengthy excerpt of The Spectacle of Disintegration.

Reality Sandwich posted a scintillating selection of The Spectacle of Disintegration in which Wark describes the foundational queer theory of Charles Fourier and its influence on Situationist thinkers. Fourier proposed a society structured around maximizing sexual pleasure rather than producing capital. After describing the orgiastic quadrangles Fourier hoped would become a mainstay of his hedonistic society, Wark concludes that Fourier’s fantastic vision is a “heretical reversal of perspective of liberalism. Rather than sacrifice the body to labor in order to sustain a survival in which some modest pleasure might be endured at the margin, the whole social field can engage all of the passions all the time.”

In response to PRISM, McKenzie Wark teamed up with artist Rachel Law to make W.A.N.T., an “illustrated limited edition Kickstarter-only book for art, tech & theory fans.”

Both media-theory blogger Roy Christopher and his friend Matthew Kirschenbaum, Associate Professor at the University of Maryland Institute of Technology, have The Spectacle of Disintegration (along with several other McKenzie Wark titles) on their summer reading lists, a testament to the growing interest of Situationist thought among those interested in new media.

Visit the Los Angeles Review of Books, First of the Month and Reality Sandwich to read the interviews in full.