chapter  16
Art and anarchy
Pages 18

M ost film or video that is shot is of, at best, of transitory interest and no specialsignificance. The home movie shooter only sees the great sights of his travels througha 3.5 cm flip-out screen; the millions of CCTV camera images are rarely reviewed and, even when they are needed, in the solving of crime say, have frequently been lost or are too poor to be of use. Television itself sponsors a transient culture that fetishises the new and the instant hit, usually salvaging only the best comedies and dramas for repeat and DVD release. As the chapter on Lifestyle shows explored, the medium has been significantly compromised by the messages it carries, increasingly acting as a purveyor of goods. This reading was central to the revolutionary writings of Guy-Ernest Debord, the chief philosopher of the anarchist Situationist International, the movement at the heart of the Sorbonne events of 1968 and other student action. He saw the screen as the most obvious manifestation of a capitalist world that had reduced everything to an advert for itself, a subversion of all activity, art and aspiration to a unified spectacle, commodified, disempowering and alienating:

In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation.1