In 1957, a new artistic and cultural movement known as the "The Situationalist International" was formed. While it was created largely to deal with the world of fifty years ago, the movement's ideas and goals are still relevant today, perhaps more than the ever. For the changes they wished to enact have indeed taken place, although in a way that they never could have imagined; they have all occurred via the Internet.
The main documentarian and public face of "The Situationlist International" was Guy Deborg, a writer and artist. One of the main postulates that he talked about was a call for change, a "revolution," or at least widespread understanding of the need for it. Deborg supported a "methodical intervention," intended to reduce the meaningless moments of life as much as possible.
Debord argues that, in the capitalist society, the intellectual and artistic expression is at first resisted and eventually exploited by bourgeoisie. It stands true when considering the history of the Internet and its current state.
It is interesting to point out that the first step in the creation of what is now known as the World Wide Web happened in the same year the Situationalist International was formed. The Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) was formed within the Department of Defense, in response to the USSR launching the satellite Sputnik, to establish the U.S. as the leader in military science and technology. The government controlled the network for over thirty years, developing new technologies to improve upon it, including the TCP/IP protocol, the Unix programming language and the Domain Name System. Finally, in 1992, the World Wide Web was unleashed, and its potential quickly transcended its original incarnation as a private governmental network. The growth, functionality and enormous creative potential of the Internet created a revolution.
The leisure activities of the general population were suddenly no longer regulated by the ruling class, but became spontaneous, unpredictable and directed by the public itself. The World Wide Web became the "spectacle" the Situationalists were talking about half a century ago. It proved itself to be the dominant mode of communication between people and their relation to each other. Email use soon superceded the use of telephone and the news articles were distributed and accessed at much higher rates online, rather than in hard copy. Nowadays, anyone can log on to the Internet and read books or articles, look at art, shop for groceries or electronics, without leaving the house or talk to someone from thousands of miles away.
The potential for "free creative activity" on the Internet also proved to be unlimited. Anyone can design a website, exhibit art or post their writing. Limitless software applications were developed over the years to make the Internet more useful, functional and accessible. The Net Art sector pushed creativity to the limit, and continues to do so to this day, with numerous artists using technology to express themselves in a new way.
The Situationalist concept of derive can be applied to the Web in the sense that cyberspace is a "terrain" with its "cybergeorgaphy" which is impossible to define. While the World Wide Web is spread all over the globe, it exists in its own space, a brand new dimension which was impossible even to conceive before the technology became available to make it reality and even then the end result was impossible to predict.
The experience of going on line was named "surfing," which reflected the similarity between real travel and movement and drifting in cyberspace. Just like in derive, people temporarily abandoned their usual motives and purposes and became driven into the "terrain" and its attractions.
The randomness of derive is also echoed in cyberspace, where the...