Situationism, Venice and emergency response exercises.

There are more links than I thought between my professional life (emergency response exercises) and one of my other interests (modern art).

Reading about the artist and theorist Guy Debord and the Situationist movement, I find:
“The idea of consistency must be transferred from the perspective of the whole of a life…. to the viewpoint of moments isolated from life, and the construction of each moment by a unitary use of situationist means……. if we take the simple example of a gathering of a group of individuals for a given time, and taking into account acquaintances and material means at our disposal, we must study which arrangment of the site, which selection of participants, and which inciitement of events suit the desired environment… the situation is made to be lived by its constructors,,, the share of those who cannot be called actors but, in a new sense, livers, will increase…”
(Debords Towards a Situationist International, written in 1957).

A pretty good description of an emergency response exercise, when you come to think of it. I have been a professional Situationist for all these years.

Oddly enoguh the Dutch pavilion at the Venice Biennale had an installation by Aernout Mik about emergency response exercises. You can download a video here. This installation focussed on the social control aspects but did a good job of capturing the mixture of tension, boredom and institutionalism that always seems to happen.

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