About

I have split my original blog in two. This one, Notes from the Sinister Quarter, is the site of revelations pertaining to my ongoing involvement with left communist theory and practice, and in particular my short term goal of writing a book on the Situationist International between the years of 1960 and 1963. The other blog, works & days of the antyphayes , I have created with the intention of archiving the last 20+ years of my experiences with science-fiction, ‘literary’ surrealism and dada, and other forms of broadly fictional creative activity.

The name of this blog refers to the quarter of an imagined city proposed by Ivan Chtcheglov and written in 1953. Entitled Formulary for a New Urbanism it was first published under the pseudonym Gilles Ivain in the first issue of the Situationist International journal in June 1958:

The districts of this city could correspond to the whole spectrum of diverse feelings that one encounters by chance in everyday life.

Bizarre Quarter — Happy Quarter (specially reserved for habitation) — Noble and Tragic Quarter (for good children) — Historical Quarter (museums, schools) — Useful Quarter (hospital, tool shops) — Sinister Quarter, etc. […]

The Sinister Quarter, for example, would be a good replacement for those ill-reputed neighborhoods full of sordid dives and unsavory characters that many peoples once possessed in their capitals: they symbolized all the evil forces of life. The Sinister Quarter would have no need to harbor real dangers, such as traps, dungeons or mines. It would be difficult to get into, with a hideous decor (piercing whistles, alarm bells, sirens wailing intermittently, grotesque sculptures, power-driven mobiles, called Auto-Mobiles), and as poorly lit at night as it was blindingly lit during the day by an intensive use of reflection. At the center, the “Square of the Appalling Mobile.” Saturation of the market with a product causes the product’s market value to fall: thus, as they explored the Sinister Quarter, children would learn not to fear the anguishing occasions of life, but to be amused by them.

The first published version appeared in an abridged form. The complete text is now also available.

In lieu of a ‘research blog’ this blog will be where I post writings—mine and others—on the Situationist International, including my longer term project of translating writings of theirs that have so far remained not translated into English. So among the poor light, grotesque sculptures and piercing whistles I will send notes in memory of a future that remains to be written.

I can be contacted at: antyphayes@gmail.com

Anthony Hayes

Canberra

August 2012

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2 Responses to About

  1. Jeff says:

    You set yourself a generous task. I can recommend Andrew Hussey’s biography of Debord if you haven’t encountered it before.

    • Hussey’s work is of little worth. Apart from the numerous inaccuracies that it contains (to mention only one of the more egregious, he studiously follows Henri Lefebvre’s faulty and far from unbiased memory by attributing the coinage of the word ‘situationist’ to Constant), Hussey is a mere academic recuperator. You would do better to read the situationists themselves in order to understand their critique.

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