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potlatch #8

information bulletin of the french section of the lettrist international

10 August1954

Translated by WNLA and Gerardo Denís

For Civil War in Morocco - Lettrist International
Daubers - Bernstein, Conord, Dahou, Debord, Fillon, Véra, Wolman
Best News of the Week
Plan for a Poster for the Walls of Algeria
36 rue des Morillons

For Civil War in Morocco

Despite the daily increase in violence in Morocco between the advanced section the urban population and the feudal tribes utilised by France, the action of an authentically revolutionary minority must not be postponed.

Pushing against the dynastic reverberations of nationalism, this minority can from now on organise the foundation of a movement towards serious insurrection without subordinating its intervention to a sudden development of class consciousness for the whole Moroccan proletariat.

This consciousness does not play a historical role in the crisis that is beginning. An attempt must be made to provoke it in the accomplishment of a struggle engaged by other tendencies, on other planes (anti-feudal tendencies, religious fanatics). The war of liberation comes from within disorder.



Man's use of colors to decorate the exteriors of buildings has always marked the apogee or renaissance of civilisations. Nothing, or next to nothing, remains of Egyptian, Maya, Toltec or Babylonian achievements in this respect. But they are still discussed. We should not then be surprised that architects have been working with colours again for some time now. But their spiritual and creative poverty, their total lack of plain humanity is, at best, depressing. Today, colors serve only to disguise their incompetence. Two examples, chosen from a survey of one hundred and fifty Parisian architects, prove our point:

The first is a project by three young architects (22, 25 and 27 years of age), who are convinced of their own genius and originality and are, naturally, admirers of Le Corbusier: Located in Aubervilliers — a desolate place if ever there was one, being as it is already graced with the efforts of a young admirer of the Saint Sulpice ceramist, Léger — it consists of a rectangular, elongated cube. To give the façade, seen to be too flat, the proper "treatment," it will be faced with alternating yellow and violet panels measuring 1 m by 60 cm. Their placement will be left up to the workmen. Objective chance, in a manner of speaking. But when will we see the first completely "automatic" building?

The second is a project by a relatively well-known architect (45 years of age): Near Nantes, it consists of two school "blocks," elongated cubes separated by the inevitable sports field with charming dwarf orange trees in planters. The boys' block on the right will be covered in green and red panels measuring 2 m x 1 m, while the girls' block on the left will be covered in yellow and violet panels of the same size.

The architects will use thin cement panels for this adorable orgy of color. They are almost totally ignorant of how this material will react with the chemical substances in the pigments. The five-storey façade of the Aubervilliers building will be protected from the rain by one meagre gutter. The same offhand approach is to be followed in the Nantes buildings, in this case, however, with a façade of only two storeys.

It is well known just how disagreeably influential the colour violet is; one is well aware of the sort of ceremonies it is generally used for; and one can well imagine the combination of dirty yellow and faded violet that will soon result. No further comment is needed.

The poverty of current architectural efforts becomes apparent when one considers that the majority of the architects surveyed, when they show any interest at all in colors, only seems inclined to use yellow and violet, or green and red, rather "young" combinations for our time.

Nevertheless, one architect (aged between 45 and 50) from his studio in the rue de l'Université, and another (of the same age), from his studio in the rue Vaugirard, are working quietly on some rather more interesting projects. The first, recently returned from America — and it is interesting to note that, at present, the most civilised form of architecture is to be found in the U.S., with Frank Lloyd Wright and his "organic" architecture, or in Latin America, with Rivera and his cities — designs mostly villas for rich people, working in light colours and using reliable materials, from ceramic tiles to Dutch brick. The second works with the same tones, but in more or less subsidised housing. His efforts are therefore somewhat limited and he often finds himself reduced to using cement, or even Gibson blocks. What a shame.

This issue of Potlatch was edited by:

Best News of the Week

West Germany, undergoing full industrial expansion, is being menaced by its first serious social troubles since the end of the war. The public services and transport strike in Hamburg, which has been underway for 48 hours, has now spread to Cologne. Little by little, the social agitation emerging from Hamburg is being seen to spread across the whole of West Germany, where over one million workers are already demanding wage increases in order to reduce the length of the working week. (France Soir, 7/8/54)

Plan for a Poster for the Walls of Algeria


edited by the Algerian section of the Lettrist International

36 Rue des Morillons

And it will be during that time that we shall start to see being engraved here and there on the streets, in letters that no-one will be able to erase: And thus the adventures of those who will capture the mysterious lion begin.

The curious destiny of 'found objects' interests us only in respect to the attitude of those who seek them. After having paid for so much of its history, the Grail has joined its hierarchical superior, God the principal commissioner, and the other cops in the Great House of the Father. Everyday it dies of old age. The profession has fallen into disrepute.

However, we like to think that those who sought the grail weren't dupes. Their dérive is worthy of us, we must look at their arbitrary promenades and their final endless passions. The religious make-up falls away. These cavaliers of mythic western lore were out for pleasure: a brilliant talent for losing themselves in play; the voyage into amazement; a love of speed; a geography of relativity.

The form of a table changes more quickly than reasons to drink. Our tables may not be round, but one day we will build castles of adventure. In many ways, the story of the Quest for the Grail foreshadows a very modern way of living.


Editor in Chief: André-Frank Conord, 15 rue Duguay-Trouin, Paris 6e.