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Mckenzie Wark's The Beach Beneath the Street—reviews, articles and interviews.

Josh Oldham 4 August 2011

The Beach Beneath the Street, McKenzie Wark's historical account of The Situationist International, has been recently reviewed by David Winters for Bookslut. Describing the book, he writes:

[T]his is no ordinary history. Instead, "it's a question of retrieving a past specific to the demands of the present." The Beach Beneath the Street rereads that past in a way that prefers not to smooth out its messier edges, refuses to reify (to pick up the jargon) what made it radical, what still makes it relevant.

Wark's title has also been the subject of an editorial piece at Mute Magazine, a piece in which Christopher Collier describes The Beach Beneath the Streets as a "beautifully written, exciting and broad study," - and a "sexy book for a sexy movement."

Throughout the text Wark deftly weaves a sustained engagement with the themes of situation, potlatch, détournement and dérive across an array of semi-biographical accounts of the main actors[...] In this Wark achieves something not to be under-estimated, producing a coherent and yet inherently pluralist work on the legacy of the SI and particularly their less well-known predecessors the Letterist International.

In addition, Mackenzie Wark has spoken at length about The Beach... on the ABC Night Air radio show. Discussing his thougts on the Situationist movement, his conversation with presenter Brent Clough touches on the development of the movement, as well its relation to Marxism, existentialism, psychogeography, and utopian thinking.

Lastly, 3:AM Magazine has run a fascinating interview with Wark, in he discusses with David Winters some of the topics covered in the book, and how they informed the style utilised in its writing. Speaking about his approach to writing, Wark says:

I wanted something that would give a sense of the immediacy of ideas to everyday life, and of the role that different forms of social interaction play in producing this self-critical everyday life. This I think produces that effect of a ‘derailment' or detour away from received ideas about the whole thing. At the same time, I want it to be seductive, to be a playful, pleasurable read. Certain kinds of sentence can produce that effect. As to which, and how to write them, well, that's a trade secret!

Visit Bookslut, Mute Magazine, ABC Night Air, and 3:AM Magazine to access the original sources.

Filed under: articles, interviews, reviews