Détournement


Debord’s psychogeographical map The Naked City (1957)

“A détournement (French: [detuʁnəmɑ̃]), meaning ‘rerouting, hijacking’ in French, is a technique developed in the 1950s by the Letterist International, and later adapted by the Situationist International (SI), that was defined in the SI’s inaugural 1958 journal as ‘[t]he integration of present or past artistic productions into a superior construction of a milieu. In this sense there can be no situationist painting or music, but only a situationist use of those means. In a more elementary sense, détournement within the old cultural spheres is a method of propaganda, a method which reveals the wearing out and loss of importance of those spheres.’ It has been defined elsewhere as ‘turning expressions of the capitalist system and its media culture against itself’—as when slogans and logos are turned against their advertisers or the political status quo. … Its opposite is recuperation, in which radical ideas or the social image of people who are viewed negatively are twisted, commodified, and absorbed in a more socially acceptable context. In general it can be defined as a variation on previous work, in which the newly created work has a meaning that is antagonistic or antithetical to the original. … Détournement is similar to satirical parody, but employs more direct reuse or faithful mimicry of the original works rather than constructing a new work which merely alludes strongly to the original. It may be contrasted with recuperation, in which originally subversive works and ideas are themselves appropriated by mainstream media. One could view détournement as forming the opposite side of the coin to ‘recuperation‘ (where radical ideas and images become safe and commodified), in that images produced by the spectacle get altered and subverted so that rather than supporting the status quo, their meaning becomes changed in order to put across a more radical or oppositional message. Guy Debord and Gil J Wolman categorized détourned elements into two types: minor détournements and deceptive détournements. Minor détournements are détournements of elements that in themselves are of no real importance such as a snapshot, a press clipping, an everyday object which draw all their meaning from being placed in a new context. Deceptive détournements are when already significant elements such as a major political or philosophical text, great artwork or work of literature take on new meanings or scope by being placed in a new context. …”
Wikipedia
Urban Dictionary: Detournement
Détournement – turning around i.e. “detournement of preexisting aesthetic elements.”
A User’s Guide to Détournement
remixthebook
Critic on the Political Practice of Détournement

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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