On Friday, April 17, I had the privilege to partake in a “show-and-tell” session on the Internationale Situationniste. For about 2 hours, Princeton faculty member Thomas Y. Levin (more below) and I showcased some of the most prized items from our respective Situationist collections. The session was held in a beautiful seminar room on the second floor of East Pyne Hall, and was attended by a small group of graduate students and faculty from the Departments of German, French, and English.
Thomas Y. Levin is a Humanist in the best sense of the term. A Professor of German at Princeton, he also serves as the Acting Co-Director of the University’s Program in Media and Modernity. He cultivate a broad range of interests, from Early German and Weimar Cinema to the Rhetorics of Surveillance. His current research focuses on the archaeology of voicemail. But for this Blog’s readers, Thomas Levin is likely best known for his pioneering efforts in researching Guy Debord and the Situationist International, with a focus on the movement’s films. He was involved with the 1989 SI exhibits (held in Paris, Boston, London and Barcelona) and, along with Keith Sanborn, played a pivotal role in making Debord’s film once again available to a (small) public in the United States. Levin was also a friend of Debord, and kept a sustained correspondence with him
Highlights of the show-and-tell included: Three copies of Debord’s “Memoires”, one of which with an original cover comprised of 110 razorblades (the work of Michel Guet); a copy of “Oeuvres Cinematographiques Completes” heavily annotated by Guy Debord; several letters and postcards sent by Guy Debord to Thomas Levin (these can also be found in the last volume of Debord’s “Correspondance”); a framed “Plan Psychogeographique de Paris”; two copies of the journal “Ion” from 1952 (the first time Debord was published); two erotic novels written by Raoul Vaneigem under a pseudonym; original photographs of Debord, and more.