from Guy Debord

To Korun
16 June 1958
Dear Piet:

It is necessary to excuse me for not having responded to you more quickly. We are quite absorbed by our larval civil war, which is far from over.

I do not at all share the opinion of Asger [Jorn] on the effect that your article can produce on the side of our ideological adversaries. I do not find it too long, and there is no problem concerning the style, as you seem to fear. Unfortunately there is a fundamental lack of cohesion, due to the fact that it contains two distinct texts that are quite arbitrarily united:

1) A text on the economic conditions of current art, which is good in itself, but which lacks the new ideological conclusions that it necessitates (these conclusions are lacking because they are in fact replaced by the second text).

2) A text that develops very summarily an interesting idea, about which Asger actually spoke to me, concerning the possibility of measuring the movement of an economy that is no longer based on the gold standard but on the quantity of energy available for interested (artistic) experimental activity.

I said to Asger at the time that this proposition necessitates a perfectly organized autonomous development, bearing in mind -- and critiquing with precision -- the monetary theories about which he and I are not up to date (I believe I can add: and you are no longer). I do not know with whose technical collaboration one could develop this idea, but it is obvious that its evocation in your article risks involving the greatest confusion. Indeed, after having exactly critiqued the preponderance of the economic point of view in the judgment of the current artistic object, you propose to make art the measure of the enonomy, without having marked the passage between the artistic commodity-object of today and the free experimental activity in a new dimension of culture (the construction of fleeting environments) that one can at this moment call, by hypothesis, "situationist." That is to say, you give the impression of seriously contradicting yourself, of converting yourself -- in the development of your text -- into an extremism of the type that you previously denounced.

The cause of this, I believe, is too much haste. No problem in our collective action can be resolved by good will. We have perspectives of a certain importance that no doubt necessitate less optimism and more fatigue. If we cannot actually use the new experimental conceptions that we have already defined, we will always fall back into the commerce of painting, a pseudo-school that is, moreover, part of the same old obsolete artistic framework. Which hasn't deceived anyone in quite a long time.

You no doubt remember that on several occasions I have incited you to take -- publically, beginning with the first issue of our journal -- a place of the highest rank in the theoretical development of this movement. All discussions with you, and your previous role, have persuaded me that this would be your contribution among us. As I still think so, I allow myself to try to dissuade you from the publication -- in Holland or elsewhere -- of a too hastily written text, which isn't representative of what you can do. Of course, if my critique appears unfounded, you are perfectly free to produce the publications that you would like under your own name. I have not published it in our "official organ,"[1] of which the ideological coherence was placed under my responsibility. But we often speak of you in this issue and I hope that you re-draft this text for the next one.

No doubt you know that [Guiseppe] Pinot, abundantly featured by the radio and television, has obtained a very great success in Turin and at this moment continues the exposition [of industrial painting] in Venice.

Amicably to Wilma and you,

[1] Translator: Internationale Situationniste #1, June 1958.

(Published in Guy Debord, Correspondance, Volume 1, 1957-1960. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! October 2005.)

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