[NetBehaviour] New Book on Situationism & Wargames

marc garrett marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Wed Oct 8 11:03:42 CEST 2014


Via stevphen Shukaitis @autonomedia

New book on Situationism and wargaming…

Class Wargames: Ludic subversion against spectacular capitalism
Richard Barbrook

Why should radicals be interested in playing wargames? Surely the Left 
can have no interest in such militarist fantasies? Yet, Guy Debord – the 
leader of the Situationist International – placed such importance on his 
invention of The Game of War described it as his most significant of his 
accomplishment.

Intrigued by this claim, a multinational group of artists, activists and 
academics formed Class Wargames to investigate the political and 
strategic lessons that could be learnt from playing his ludic 
experiment. While the ideas of the Situationists continue to be highly 
influential in the development of subversive art and politics, 
relatively little attention has been paid to their strategic 
orientation. Determined to correct this deficiency, Class Wargames is 
committed to exploring how Debord used the metaphor of the Napoleonic 
battlefield to propagate a Situationist analysis of modern culture and 
politics. Inspired by his example its members have also hacked other 
military simulations: H.G. Wells’ Little Wars; Chris Peers’ Reds versus 
Reds and Richard Borg’s Commands & Colors. Playing wargames is not a 
diversion from politics: it is the training ground of tomorrow’s 
communist insurgents.

Fusing together historical research on avant-garde artists, political 
revolutionaries and military theorists with narratives of five years of 
public performances, Class Wargames provides a strategic and tactical 
manual for subverting the economic, political and ideological 
hierarchies of early-21st century neoliberal capitalism. The knowledge 
required to create a truly human civilisation is there to be discovered 
on the game board!

—

“In a world become ‘game-ified’ against its will, Class Wargames 
provides the field manual for the only game that matters – that of 
history.” – McKenzie Wark, author of The Beach Beneath the Street and 
Gamer Theory.

“Richard Barbrook’s approach to the Situationist International is so 
left field, he leaves virtually every other author addressing the 
subject looking like a dull academic plodder. Were he still alive, 
Barbrook’s fellow iconoclast Guy Debord would heartily approve of such 
unacceptable theory.” – Stewart Home, Stewart Home, avant-garde 
pornographer and Paul Hamlyn Foundation prize winner

“Richard Barbrook’s book is a jubilant manifesto for ludic art and 
revolution – each in service of the other – for a participatory future. 
By bringing Situationist disciplines into a contemporary context, he 
shows how thinkers, gamers, artists, hackers and educators can resist 
assimilation, and their creative endeavours escape perversion, by the 
deadly, dominating forces of neoliberalism.” – Ruth Catlow, co-founder 
of Furtherfield and creator of Rethinking Wargames

—

Bio: Richard Barbrook is Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University 
of Westminster and an active member of Class Wargames. He is the author 
of Imaginary Futures: From Thinking Machines to the Global Village, The 
Class of the New, and Media Freedom: The Contradictions of 
Communications in the Age of Modernity

PDF available freely online: http://www.minorcompositions.info/?p=636

Released by Minor Compositions, Wivenhoe / Brooklyn / Port Watson
Minor Compositions is a series of interventions & provocations drawing 
from autonomous politics, avant-garde aesthetics, and the revolutions of 
everyday life.

Minor Compositions is an imprint of Autonomedia
www.minorcompositions.info | minorcompositions at gmail.com




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