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The Beach Beneath The Street sheds light on the riots of 1968 and 2011— Financial Times review

Josh Oldham17 August 2011

McKenzie Wark's The Beach Beneath the Street has received more positive reviews, this time from the Financial Times and the Morning Star.

Financial Times architecture critic Edwin Heathcote praises Wark's readable treatment of the Situationist movement; a movement whose "enticing" ideas on boredom, work, protest and and capitalism are particularly pertinent in light of the UK's recent rioting.

Wark's readable explanation of the movement's ideas about how to deal with increasing leisure time in a capitalist context where free time is treated as an extension of service to the consumer society, a kind of enforced consumption, is the best I have read.

Wark has done us a great favour by explaining how situationist ideas (which included a proto-internet, an information super-network free of government control) still represent the sharpest and most surprisingly prescient critiques of the contemporary city.

Michal Boncza, writing for the Morning Star, concurs with this sentiment, noting that the recent UK riots are a reflection of notable themes and ideas expressed by leading Situationist thinkers.

McKenzie Wark's engaging narrative could not have come at a better time - last week's riots demonstrated tragically the profound alienation, even despair, of swathes of urban poor and destitute and minorities' worrying descent into hellish criminality.

Visit the Financial Times and Morning Star to read the reviews in full. 

Filed under: reviews, riots