from Guy Debord

To J.V. Martin
8 May 1963
Dear Martin:

We are enchanted by the developments announced in your letter of 6 May [1963]. We are quite in agreement on the fact that you must try to take artistic and theoretical control of the new anti-Nashist and anti-nuclear gallery[1] (ban the Nash).[2]

We enclose a first comprehensive project, possible for the opening of this gallery. Naturally, this project may not suit you. Or perhaps you can choose several details from it. But we will describe all of it, which we consider to be comprehensive.

It will be necessary to divide the gallery into three parts: as in the enclosed schema: the second part (revolt) must be a little larger than the first abri[3] and the third (exhibition).


The first piece is a horrible anti-nuclear shelter containing:

-- folding cot
-- several cans of preserves
-- several bottles of mineral water

As for audio ambiance: uninterrupted siren noise, on a tape recorder (a loop).

In this piece, a soft and disagreeable light (a blue blinking light, for example).

The air is render difficult to breathe by an excess of deodorant. Two assistants dressed in anti-nuclear jumpsuits (cowls, goggles) oblige the people to remain 10 minutes in this space.

In this piece, one distributes medicine (with the idea that each audience member swallows it).

The medicine is labeled: RSG-6 -- it is necessary to write: "You are invited to the destruction of the RSG-6."

If you have a mannequin, put it in a plastic bag, in a corner, as if it were a cadaver.

N.B.: do you have the English tract Danger! Official Secret -- RSG-6? If not, we can lend one to you, to place under glass on a wall.[5]


The second piece is devoted to insight and revolt.

-- On the walls, attached to plywood made of cork, enlarged photos of the leaders whose names follow: Kennedy, the Queen of England, de Gaulle, Kruchtchev, Franco, Adenauer, the King of Denmark.

-- 3 carbines, vertically set, with which the people shoot at the photographs. Each time that they hit a leader in the eye, they get a copy of the S.R. journal,[6] which will also be offered to them in the following piece.

-- Paintings by Martin, signed and offered for sale. They are to be made in the following fashion:

a) Take the geographical maps in relief (in plaster, with the mountains). The maps can be of Denmark, Scandanavia, Europe, America, etc.

b) Hurl colors at the maps. Choose the colors so that they give an atrocious aspect and represent the stains of destruction, as in a skin disease.

c) One can mix into the plaster (into the paint) waste products and all sorts of discarded things (hair, axle grease, crushed glass, bits of scrap iron . . . ). The general goal is to give the impression of these countries, as seen from by a stratospheric rocket. One must still be able to distinguish the countries from each other.

d) One of these paintings should be called: Two hours after the beginning of the Third World War.

Another to be called: On the second day, one counts 82 megabodies (or megadeaths).

Still another: 2 hours 15 minutes after the beginning of the World War. Etc.


The third piece is the gallery properly speaking. A small space reserved for artistic creativity.

-- If possible, a cocktail party.
-- Situationist journals and tracts.
-- Paintings by Martin and others.

In this piece only (not before), one distributes the catalogue.[7] The paintings can have political titles -- situationist [titles]. For example:

We re-start the Spanish [Civil] War, and this time we fight to win.
Eulogy for Gracchus Babeuf.
Those who make revolutions half-way merely dig themselves a grave (Saint-Just).
Happiness is a new idea in Europe; death, even nuclear death, is an old idea.
Kennedy, Kruschtchev, the Pope and Franco: the leaders of all countries are united; their strontiums co-exist.
The weapon of critique doesn't make up for the critique of weapons.
Long live Marx and Lumumba!
The Victory of the Paris Commune.
Homage to Christian Christensen.
Where there is liberty, there is no State (Lenin).
President Eisenhower shamefully takes flight before the irreducible demonstrations of the Zengakuren.
A spectre haunts the world: the spectre of the power of workers' councils.

N.B.: In addition to paintings, one can also show collages.

Cordially yours,

[1] Exi Gallery, in Odense, Denmark.

[2] "A bas le Nash," an allusion to the slogan "Ban the bomb."

[3] Shelter.

[4] Added in the margin: "A destroyed car in front of the door (on the sidewalk)" and "An entryway."

[5] Note in the margin: "Piece 3 (or perhaps 2)."

[6] Situationistik Revolution.

[7] Destruction of the RSG-6 [English in original], published by the SI, with the text "The Situationists and the New Forms of Action in Politics and Art" by Guy Debord and photos of works by Michele Bernstein and J.V. Martin.

(Published in Guy Debord, Correspondance, Volume 2, 1960-1964. Footnotes by Alice Debord. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! May 2005.)

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