Traces of the Global Sixties - Derive
Before beginning this essay, let’s imagine that I am currently an ordinary college freshman living and writing in the 1960s. As people generally know, this period stands as a moment of great political and economical change. However, change isn’t always positive. In fact, this change, as Guy Debord believes, is a spectacle, which began in the 1920s. The spectacle itself is a combination of advanced capitalism, the mass media, and the types of government that promote commodity fetishism. In this sort of society, which Debord calls “The Society of the Spectacle”, the commodities rule the workers and consumers instead of the other way around. Advanced capitalism, which defines this society, encourages predictable and monotonous experiences of everyday life for the citizens. This society degrades human life, human knowledge, and hinders critical thought. As a result, a basic situationist practice known as the “derive” came into existence, which gives these people an opportunity for a new, authentic, and fun experience of the different surroundings and emotions generated by the urban landscape. The majority of this essay will be about my experiences of “deriving” around the city of Los Angeles, and how those experiences reflect the society of the spectacle, as well as the city’s mechanisms of social control and self-reproduction. However, we will be exploring the essential concepts of situationism before dwelling into these experiences.
In a sense, a derive is a method of travel which involves neither a goal nor a plan. It’s very much like a loose lifestyle with no destination and chance. You’re put into a situation, and you travel based on the environment that surrounds you. You must set aside all work, leisure activities, and completely immerse yourself into the attractions of the places and the encounters you find there. This method requires an awareness of psychogeographical effects. Psychogeography aims to study the...
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