Discourse on Industrial Painting and a Unitary Applicable Art
Internationale Situationniste #3 (December 1959)
Translated by Molly Klein
Last Thursday, the day of the preview of the Paris Biennale, on the little esplanade that separates the two buildings of the Museum of Modern Art, below Avenue de Président-Wilson, a curious machine a painting machine shuddered into motion. Set on a tripod with casters, from afar its silhouette appeared strikingly similar to that of a Calder mobile. On closer inspection, however, it consisted of a tangled series of pullies that driving a small motor at top speed. As long roll of paper unravelled itself, convulsing pipes covered it with automatic drips and slashes of ink. The finished product was then sliced into sections by a blade that whirred and sputtered in a chaotic circular movement.
Jean-François Chabrun (L'Express, 8-10-59)
COLLOIDAL MACROMOLECULES have already made their appearance in the field of art, and although their poet has not yet been found, thousands of artists are busying themselves with the effort to master them.
The great era of resin is inaugurated and with it has commenced the use of matter in motion; the colloidal macromolecule will etch itself profoundly onto the concept of relativity, and the constants of matter will suffer a definitive collapse. Concepts of eternity and immortality will disintegrate, and the woes of eternalization of matter will be reduced ever more to nothing, leaving to the artists of chaos the infinite joy of the "always new."
The novel conceived amidst the risks of infinite imagination and invention: drawn from the liberated energy that man will harness toward the deconstruction of the gold standard, understood as the congealed energy of the infernal banking system already decomposing.
The patented society, conceived of and based on the simplistic notions, the elementary gestures of artists and scientists reduced in captivity from ants to lice, is about to end. Man is expressing a collective consciousness and wielding a tool adequate to the transformation to a potlatch system of gifts which cannot be purchased if not with other poetic experiences.
The machine may very well be the appropriate instrument for the creation of an industrial-inflationist art, based on the Anti-Patent; the new industrial culture will be strictly "Made Amongst People" or not at all! The time of the Scribes is over.
Only a continual and implacable creation and destruction will result in an anxious and pointless quest for object-things of transitory use, planting mines beneath the foundations of the Economy, destroying its values or impeding their formation; the ever-novel will destroy the boredom and anguish created by man's slavery to the infernal machine, queen of the all-equivalent; the new possibility will create a new world of the total-diverse.
Quantity and quality will be fused; the arising society of the luxury-standard will annihilate traditions.
Proverbs will no longer have meaning.
For example, the proverb, "He who leaves the old path for the new," etc., will be replaced by, "The proverbs of the old starve the young to death."
A new, ravenous force of domination will push men toward an unimaginable epic poetry.
Not even the habit of establishing time will be preserved.
From now on, time will be merely an emotive value, a newly minted coin of shock, and will be based on the sudden changes arising in moments of creative life, and upon rare instants of boredom.
Men without memories will be created; men in a continual violent ecstasy, forever starting at ground zero; a "critical ignorance" will come into being with extensive roots in the long prehistory of savage man, the magus of the caves.
The new magic will have the more recent spice of the sparks of the conflagration of the library of Alexandria which was the synthesis of the Neolithic revolution and which continues in our own times to burn the residue of the urban society of the Sumerians and the nomadism of the Phoenicians, flavoring like a narcotic incense the hopes of man.
So great will be the artistic productions that machines will produce, compliantly bending to our wills, that we will not even be able to fix it in memory; machines will remember for us.
Other machines will intervene to destroy, determining situations of non-value; there will be no more works of the art-champion, but open air ecstatic-artistic exchanges among the people.
The world will be the stage and the by-play of a continuous representation; the new earth will transform itself into an immense Luna Park, creating new emotions and new passions.
The cosmic spectacle offered by humanity will be effectively universal and visible in its total simultaneity at telescopic distance, obliging man to ascend in order to embrace the entire spectacle; the laziest will put their names down in Paradise.
Man is thus launched on the quest of myth.
In the past, the epic was able to create itself on earth; lack of communication, wars, great fears, and the confusion of languages and customs favored in time deformations and distortions of reality; they transformed actions, and synthesized into myth.
Today a myth can only be created with difficulty and when man manages to find himself in special conditions, or launches himself into macrocosm with immense instruments, or descends with minuscule ones into microcosm.
Because of this we must depict the roads of the future with unknowable materials, marking the long path of the Heavens with methods of signing adequate to the grandiosity of our undertakings.
Where today one makes signs with spokes in sodium, tomorrow we will use new rainbows, fatas morganas, aurora borealises that we will construct; the stripteases of the constellations, the rhythmic dances of asteroids and ultrasonic music of thousands of fragmented sounds will supply us with moments worthy of demigods.
For all those things and men already powerful: sooner or later you will give us machines to play with or we will fashion them ourselves to occupy that leisure time which you, with demented voracity, look forward to passing in Banality and in making minds progressively into mush. We will use these machines to draw the highways, to make the most fantastical and unique fabrics in which for a single instant the joyous throngs will dress themselves with an artistic sense.
Kilometers of printed paper, engraved, colored, will sing hymns to the strangest and most zealous follies.
Houses of painted leather, of pottery, lacquered, of metal, of alloys, of resin, of vibrantly colored cements will form on the earth an asymmetrical and continuous moment of shock.
We will fix images at our pleasure with cine-photographic and televisual machines, which the collective genius of the people has created, and which you have until now evilly employed in securing for yourselves an absolute reign of Boredom.
Each person will feel the joy of color, of music; architectonic airs of colored gasses, hot walls of infrareds that provide eternal springtime - we will make it so that man plays from the cradle to the grave, and even death will be nothing but a game.
Colored poetic signs will create emotional moments and give us the infinite joy of the magico-creative-collective moment, on the platform of the new myths and passions.
With automation there will no longer be work in the traditional sense, and there will be no more "after work" time, but a free time to liberate anti-economic energies.
We want to found the first establishment of industrial poetry and from this unimaginable and monstrous birth which machines will grant us, we will create establishments of immediate destruction, to obliterate at once the emotional products already created, so that our brains will be forever immune to plagiarism and will be able to find themselves immediately in the state of grace of ground zero.
A people of artists only can survive guided by its brilliant minority: the creators of belief.
The ancient cultures give us examples of this with their inflation; everything was unique and this immense production was impossible without the inclusion of popular elements dragged along in their works of immense poetry.
Once the poetic font dried up, it was a brief step to the ruin of the Maya, of the Cretans, of the Etruscians, etc.
Today man is a part of the machine he has created and which negates him and by which he is dominated.
We must invert this non-sense or there will be no more creation; we must dominate the machine, force it to make the unique gesture useless, anti-economic, artistic in order to create a new anti-economic society, one that is poetic, magical, artistic.
Powerful and symmetrical lords: asymmetry, at the heart of modern biology, is expanding in the artistic and scientific fields, undermining the foundations of your symmetrical world calculated upon the axioms of poetic moments of a long gone past that has arrived at an absolute immobility in the crystalline Boredom of Your devising.
The ultimate modern artistic creations actuated with a magico-prophetic sense have destroyed space; the long kilometric cloths can be translated and measure chronometrically, like films, like cinerama (twenty minutes of painting, thirty, an hour).
Time, the magic box with which men of ancient agrarian cultures would regulate their vital and poetic experiences, has halted and compelled you to change speed.
The instruments which are the basis of your dominion: space and time, will be useless toys in your childish, crooked, paralytic hands.
Useless your idealist constructs of the Superman and of genius; useless your proprieties, your immense urbanistic formations that bore the insomniac nights of aristocratic spirits capable only of limping about empty palaces, like bats and owls in search of the foul foods of artificial paradises.
Useless and vain your centuries of urbanism, because only to you and for you the people have vainly consecrated their best free creative energies, believing you to be the effective representatives of a poetic message. Today anti-matter, the physical anti-world has been discovered and your whole unwieldy dwelling trembles on the precipice.
The anti-man has already appeared in the dramatic scenario of physics. The people will have no use in the future for your purposeless proprieties, which are nothing but vast cemeteries in which you have entombed over the centuries all the pains and the poetry that man has created for you.
New proprieties are required; true nomadism requires scenes for camping, for gypsy caravans, for the weekends.
The return to nature with modern instrumentation will allow man, after thousands of centuries, to return to the places where Paleolithic hunters overcame great fear; modern man will seek to abandon his own, accumulated in the idiocy of progress, on contact with humble things, which nature in her wisdom has conserved as a check on the immense arrogance of the human mind.
Lords already powerful in the East and the West, you have built subterranean cities to protect yourself from the radiation which you have savagely: very well, the ingenious artists will transform your sewers into sanctuaries and into atomic cathedrals tracing with emotional magic the signs of the industrial culture that will swiftly transform into the symbols of the new zodiac, the new calendars of fleeting moments.
New energies gathered from the sensitive minority that the masses will express in extended lethargy will transform your termitai [trans: termites? terminals?] of armored cement into opulent, transmittable and exchangeable moments.
Artists will be the teddy-boys of the old culture: that which you have not already destroyed will be destroyed by them in order that nothing is remembered, since your dullness has come to such a point that it has destroyed the last possibility of rebirth left to you: war.
This was always your last resort, since destruction requires renovation: today your cowardice, your fear has exploded in your hands.
You are indefatigable fabricators of Boredom.
Your progress will sterilize the last of your sensibilities, and nothing, if not your civilization, will help you to gasp the last particles of an infected oxygen, prolonging your agony in the emissions of the machines which you yourselves have overworked and exhausted.
The new decorums, stretching from cloth to dwellings, from means of transport to glasses and plates and lighting fixtures to the experimental cities, will be unique, artistic and unrepeatable.
We will no longer use the term "fixed" but "shifting", seeing that they will be ephemeral instruments of joy and play; in a word, we will return to poverty, extreme poverty but possessed of wealth of spirit in a new way of acting and being.
Possessions will be collective and have a swiftness of self-destruction.
Poetry will no longer be about the senses which we already know, but those which we have yet to know; it will have no more architecture, nor painting, nor words, nor images, but will be without external surfaces and without volume. We are nearing the fourth dimension, nearing pure poetry, magic without a master, but it can only be if it is total, we are near the savage state with a modern sense, with modern instruments: the promised land, paradise, Eden, can be nothing other than to breathe the air, to eat, to touch, to penetrate. To purify one's self in the air in order to create with these new, impalpable proprieties the new passionate and free man, who no longer has time to satiate all his desires and create new ones.
All ideologies, all religions, follow the politics of desire, never satisfying them if not in the hereafter: the result is that today science and art find themselves facing an impenetrable wall of whys.
We want to wipe out the whys for good.
The new prophets have already breached this infinite and sweet wall of new poetry at its foundations.
The man of tomorrow will, guided by these pioneers, tap into the indestructible nectar which flows from it.
The entire new human way of being and acting will be a game, and man will live all his life for play, preoccupying himself with nothing but the indulgence of emotions arising from the play of his desires.
The first rudimentary tools of this revolution are, in our opinion, artistic-industrial and devaluating, simply because these are above all instruments of joy: and so this is why in proposing our minor results, like industrial painting, we feel arrogantly certain that our hopes are good, judging from the spreading enthusiasm with which they have been received.
Industrial painting is the first attempted success in playing with machines, and the result has been the devaluing of the work of art.
When thousands of painters who today labor at the non-sense of detail will have the possibilities which machines offer, there will be no more giant stamps, called paintings to satisfy the investment of value, but thousands of kilometers of fabric offered in the streets, in markets, for barter, allowing millions of people to enjoy them and exciting the experience of arrangement.
It will be the triumph of great numbers moved by quality, which will establish unknown values, and the speed of exchange will determine a new identity: Value will become identical to Exchange.
It will be the end of all speculation.
The situationists at the home of Christian Christiansen in Denmark. An irreducible revolutionary, Christiansen was the chief theoretician and organizer of the Danish workers' movement in the early twentieth century.
The great game began at Turin in 1958, continued in Milan and Venice, was reconfirmed in Monaco in 59 where the Congress of Situationists established that the ten points of the Amsterdam Declaration were the fruit of a silent but effective premise for a unitary-urbanism.
The subsequent Exhibition of Paris, where environmental construction was successfully demonstrated, the emotion of an instant, demonstrated how cultural unity is the only idea capable of dominating the machine.
We are poor and it doesn't matter, our poverty is our strength.
Its useless for us to stew in our own juices, they will be able to exclude us from their Exhibitions, they will be able to silence us, insult us, humiliate us.
The people have already understood our poetry and already the tribulation of the new poetic moment beats anxiously in the heart of the throngs bored with the exhausted idols fabricated by the hypocritical and self-interested fornication of phantom powers of the earth and their impoverished and miserable artists, snarlingly superintended by all the wheels of the human automatic mechanism of thought and of technology and of the most impotent race on the globe: the intellectuals.
Thus begin the long days of atomic creation.
Now it is the turn of we artists, scientists, poets to create the earth anew, the oceans, the animals, the sun and the other stars, the air, the water, and the things.
And it will be our turn to breathe life into clay to create the new man fit to rest on the seventh day.
Pinot-Gallizio's manifesto was published in Italy in November under the title Per un arte unitaria applicabile.