Click if You Like This, or OCCUPY as Spectacle: Situationism and a Technological Derive.


The spectacle is not a collection of images; it is a social relation between people that is mediated by images (The Society of the Spectacle, Thesis 4)

Guy Debord

This performative, multi-media lecture re-reads Guy Debord’s book, The Society of the Spectacle (1967) with reference to the global Occupy movement, and the role social media and the Internet play in the facilitation and hindrance of this recent form of political activism. Debord claims that all ‘having’ — that is, all forms of accumulating capital — ‘derives its immediate prestige and its ultimate purpose from appearances’, and that individual reality, which is shaped by social forces, can ‘appear only if it is not actually real (Debord, thesis 18).’ Using the multiple functions and staggering proliferation of various image making technologies used to record and represent OCCUPY actions as a starting point, we respond to Debord’s proposition by examining the ways his analysis of the spectacle both enables and impedes a thorough critique of social media as a spectacular technology par excellence. Part reflective essay, part critical analysis, and part performance, ‘Click if You Like This’ connects various situationist strategies of ‘artistic interference’ — such as the dérive and détournement — with expanded cinema in order to generate a series of questions and provocations about the politics of place, the degradation of social space, networked images and the ubiquity of contemporary ‘spectacular’ technologies, which have colonized all forms of everyday life. This presentation questions whether contemporary forms and strategies of interference are the same as their historical precedents.