Détournement, réinvention du collage

Gabriel Ferreira Zacarias

The present paper analyzes the situationist practice of ‘detournement’ in its relationship to the heritage of modern avant-gardes, and notably surrealism. First, it revisits the foundations of that notion, as it was laid out by Guy Debord and Gil Wolman in the 1956 text Mode d’emploi du detournement, and briefly studies the use of the procedure in the collaborative work of Guy Debord and Asger Jorn, that soon followed. After that, the essay moves to the study of unpublished reading notes from the archives of Guy Debord, in order to reassess the author’s relationship to surrealism. The readings of Genèse de la pensée moderne (1950) by Marcel Jean and Arpad Mezei will be of importance, as well as the significance attributed to Lautreamont. Finally, the article discusses the situationist idea that “collage is a particular case of detournement”, as a part of the SI’s perception of postwar avant-garde context. The place of memory in the use of detournement will emerge here as an opening for a new reading of the situationist practice, beyond the self-understanding of the group.