Guy Debord, Diagrams of Revolution

2 Feb 2015
Guy Debord, Diagrams of Revolution

Guy Debord, Diagrams of Revolution runs from February 4 to March 31 in the foyer of UCC Library.

The exhibition opens on Wednesday February 4 at 18.00 UCC Library in the presence of Frédéric Rauser, Cultural and Scientific Counsellor, Embassy of France in Ireland.

Jointly curated by UCC Library and the Department of French, this exhibition brings renewed attention to the ideas of Guy Debord (1931-1994) and their relevance to the contemporary. Why Debord? The life of Debord, cultural and political critic, radical theoretician, filmmaker, provocateur, is entwined with complex and far-reaching changes in French and global culture. Embroiled in a bloody war with Algeria from 1954 to 1962, France was also experiencing a consumer boom, against a background of conservative, paternalist capitalism.

Debord lived a permanent revolt against the creeping mediatisation of society, which he saw as akin to a weapon in capitalism’s drive to crush individual creativity through the illusion of freedom bought and sold in shiny packages and images. He saw that something had to give, as it did in the mass protests of May 1968 and the growth of new movements in their wake.

Society and individual alike were caught up in the smothering embrace of the spectacle. The spectacle is not the representation of consumer society; it is, he said, a social relation, a mode of alienation where individuals actually enjoy their own exploitation as reflected back at them. His razor-like dissection of the ‘society of the spectacle’, his ideas of ‘dérive’ or drift, and of ‘détournement’ showed how visual strategies and critique could participate in visual consumerism whilst undermining it.
A range of films on, and by, Debord will be shown. Experimental, sometimes shocking, always provocative, these films are rarely screened. This exhibition will allow many to view these for the first time. They will be shown at the Cork French Film Festival (March 4 -10), at the Christchurch, Triskel Gallery (Monday March 2 at 14.00), as well as in the Glucksman Gallery, UCC. More details of these events to follow.
Many of the materials for the exhibition are from the acclaimed exhibition organised by the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in 2013. Laurence Le Bras and Emmanuel Guy will give a seminar on Debord’s work on Monday March 2 at 10.00 in the CACSSS Mary Ryan Meeting Room in the O’Rahilly Building in UCC.

For more information contact one of the curators Crónán Ó Doibhlin (UCC Library) at (021) 4903185 or 0863199417 or Patrick Crowley (, Paul Hegarty ( from the Department of French.

The curators would like to thank the following for their generous support and assistance in presenting this exhibition:  The Bibliothèque nationale de France, The Embassy of France in Ireland, The Department of French at UCC and UCC Library.


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