Thursday, 1 December 2011

Final Assignment

1.    Make a team (preferably 3 or more persons).
2.   Choose a text (or a theme discussed by several texts).
3.    Everybody reads the text
-       already when reading the text think about
= what is says about culture
= a point or an idea that strikes you as interesting or intriguing – just one, at least
= how does the text relate to your own experience?

4.    Team meets and discusses the text.
This part is more important than a cute presentation. I do not need resumes to tell me what the texts say, I’ve read them all. The course is not about you being able to reproduce in correct manner arguments pertaining to a set of thinkers. The course is about getting a handle on theory, seeing it unfolding, trying to mess with it even when you are not necessarily theoretically inclined. Trying to see how and where theory speaks of practice and reality, what does it have to say.

5.     In a form of your own choice make a sum-up and presentation about the discussion.
I repeat: not of the text you have read, but what came up in the discussion, how did you understand the text/theme.
The presentation can be a slide-show – a video – a picture (but prepare to verbally explain it a little anyway, to others). It can be a dialogue, a short scene staged by the team. It can be a poem. It can be just the notes from your discussion written out and read aloud. Use the idea of the presentation to give your imagination about the text/theme some scope and kick!

The presentations will be held in Ateljee 14.12 between 10.00 – 12.00 Again, the important thing is to communicate your thoughts and discussion to the others – who then please make their comments. I have reserved time precisely for discussion and comments.
14.12 will be a general ”Critique Day” of the department, so that after lunch (from 13 on) we will continue in Värjäämö with presentations of works from Pia’s Workshop of Contemporary Art, and after that anybody who wants to can present their work from a course – teachers will tell about courses in Spring – students can give feedback – and we’ll end with a departmental Xmas party. All Culture as Production students are welcome!

1.12. Michel De Certeau and The Practice of Everyday

"General Introduction 

This essay is part of a continuing investigation of the ways in which users - commonly assumed to be passive and guided by established rules - operate. The point is not so much to discuss this elusive yet fundamental subject as to make such a discussion possible; that is, by means of inquiries and hypotheses, to indicate pathways for further research. This goal will be achieved if everyday practices, "ways of operating" or doing things, no longer appear as merely the obscure background of social activity, and if a body of theoretical questions, methods, categories, and perspectives, by penetrating this obscurity, make it possible to articulate them. 

The examination of such practices does not imply a return to individuality. The social atomism which over the past three centuries has served as the historical axiom of social analysis posits an elementary unit-the individual-on the basis of which groups are supposed to be formed and to which they are supposed to be always reducible. This axiom, which has been challenged by more than a century of sociological, economic, anthropological, and psychoanalytic research, (although in history that is perhaps no argument) plays no part in this study. Analysis shows that a relation (always social) determines its terms, and not the reverse, and that each individual is a locus in which an incoherent (and often contradictory) plurality of such relational determinations interact. Moreover, the question at hand concerns modes of operation or schemata of action, and not directly the subjects (or persons) who are their authors or vehicles. It concerns an operational logic whose models may go as far back as the age-old ruses of fishes and insects that disguise or transform themselves in order to survive, and which has in any case been concealed by the form of rationality currently dominant in Western culture. The purpose of this work is to make explicit the systems of operational combination (les combinatoires d'operations) which also compose a "culture," and to bring to light the models of action characteristic of users whose status as the dominated element in society (a status that does not mean that they are either passive or docile) is concealed by the euphemistic term "consumers." Everyday life invents itself by poaching in countless ways on the property of others."

28.11. Foucault

Of Other Space: Utopias and Heterotopias

As is well known, the great and obsessive dread of the nineteenth century was history, with
its themes of development and stagnation, crisis and cycle, the accumulation of the past, the
surplus of the dead and the world threatened by cooling. The nineteenth century found the
quintessence of its mythological resources in the second law of thermodynamics. Our own era,
on the other hand, seems to be that of space. We are in the age of the simultaneous, of
juxtaposition, the near and the far, the side by side and the scattered. A period in which, in my
view, the world is putting itself to the test, not so much as a great way of life destined to grow in
time but as a net that links points together and creates its own muddle.
There also exist, and this is probably true for all cultures and all civilizations, real and
effective spaces which are outlined in the very institution of society, but which constitute a sort
of counter arrangement, of effectively realized utopia, in which all the real arrangements, all the
other real arrangements that can be found within society, are at one and the same time
represented, challenged, and overturned: a sort of place that lies outside all places and yet is
actually localizable. In contrast to the utopias, these places which are absolutely other with
respect to all the arrangements that they reflect and of which they speak might be described as

Intellectuals and Power: A conversation between Foucault and Deleuze
"In this sense theory does not express, translate, or serve to apply practice: it is practice. But it is
local and regional, as you said, and not totalising. This is a struggle against power, a struggle
aimed at revealing and undermining power where it is most invisible and insidious. It is not to
"awaken consciousness" that we struggle (the masses have been aware for some time that
consciousness is a form of knowledge; and consciousness as the basis of subjectivity is a
prerogative of the bourgeoisie), but to sap power, to take power; it is an activity conducted
alongside those who struggle for power, and not their illumination from a safe distance. A
"theory " is the regional system of this struggle."

24.11. Debord and SI

         "The wealth of those societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails, presents itself as "an immense accumulation of commodities,” its unit being a single commodity. Our investigation must therefore begin with the analysis of a commodity." Karl Marx, Capital I.
         "In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation. " Guy Debord, The Society of spectacle.
         "The images detached from every aspect of life fuse in a common stream in which the unity of this life can no longer be reestablished. Reality considered partially unfolds, in its own general unity, as a pseudo-world apart, an object of mere contemplation. The specialization of images of the world is completed in the world of the autonomous image, where the liar has lied to himself. The spectacle in general, as the concrete inversion of life, is the autonomous movement of the non-living." Guy Debord, The Society of spectacle.

Definitions: SI 1958

constructed situation

A moment of life, concretely and deliberately constructed by the collective organization of unitary environment and the free play of events.


Relating to the theory or practical activity of constructing situations. One who engages in the construction of situations. A member of the Situationist International.


A word totally devoid of meaning, improperly derived from the preceding term. There is no situationism, which would mean a theory of interpretation of existing facts. The notion of situationism was obviously conceived by anti-situationists.