Anyone can be a Situationist - Statement by Hardy Strid for the Seminar.
People sometimes talk about the ’leader’ Jørgen Nash. We didn’t really have any Führer. Why should for instance Gruppe Spur need some kind of leader? In the texts of the Situationist International it is explicitly stated that there are no leaders. Therefore it is incredible that the thesis grinder J. V. Martin did not react against being called the ‘head of the Scandinavian section.’ After all the section was more or less only himself. I think it was a sign of good humour when we started using the term ‘Situationst’ outside the very restricted sense the French section gave it.
Is it a crime to call oneself a Dadaist? A lot of Dadaists appeared through the years in the Unites States. Aragon and Breton had difficulties keeping track of the Surrealist group. You are excluded or leave the main road and rejoin the group. Marinetti could not prevent the appearance of the Russian Futurists.
When it comes to the Situationist International it was Guy Debord and Asger Jorn who got the stone rolling and since then many other stones have started rolling. And a bit further than Debord and Jorn imagined. I meet Asger Jorn in London where I was studying. The acquaintance with Jorn and his brother Jørgen Nash who had been a refugee during the war made me want to come to Copenhagen. Nash took over the post as secretary for the Scandinavian section of the Situationist Group and together we arranged the fifth congress in Göteborg 1961. At that time Gruppe Spur was living at Drakabygget. After the congress in Göteborg and the exclusions of many members of the group we realised that we had to distance ourselves from the Debord fraction. So we launched the Second Situationist International. I became the secretary of the group and took care of the activities that kept taking place in an ever more hectic tempo. It did not take long before we had a large group and were able to make far more actions than the Debord fraction had ever managed to do. We wrote a Co-Ritus manifesto in 1961 (before Fluxus was commonly known) and attacked the universities in Denmark and Sweden as well as the seminary in Uppsala in 1964. We worked under many different names from 1961 to 1971: Struggle of the Situacratic Society – Drakabygget – Bauhaus Situationiste – Seven Rebels – Ritus contra depravation – Manifestation for artistic freedom of speech – Co-Ritus.
How do people think they can patent a term as if it was a company name? I don’t know how many people there are in the world, who call themselves Situationist?
Here in Sweden I somehow belonged to the community around Endre Nemes and Peter Weiss. As a painter I don’t care whether my paintings offend Situationists or other people! And you can call me whatever kind of –ist you want.
Hardy Strid, March 2007