from Guy Debord

To Maurice Wyckaert
Saturday 4 February 1961
Dear Maurice:

I have just recently received your letter.

The proposition of Mertz[1] is very interesting (the subject . . . ). In principle, I quite like it. Just yesterday, Asger [Jorn] spoke tremendously well of Mertz to me. I would quickly like to have several details of the project (can't we work, you and I, at the same time at Permild's place?). Will Mertz still be in Munich around 20 March, at the time of the Central Council? I'm thinking of arriving around the first of March. In the next two weeks, I will finish my current film [Critique of Separation], which is at the exhausting stage of editing.

I'm also preparing an intervention[2] on "Perspectives for Conscious Modifications of Everyday Life," which Henri Lefebvre asked me to present to the Research Group on Everyday Life, which is under his direction (at the margins of the CNRS) and in which the S[ituationist] I[nternational] can infiltrate itself through every open door. One prepares a terrible blow for the sociologists.

Excellent news from Marinotti [Karel Appel], who is completely seized by our project[3] and who is advancing very intelligent and interesting counter-proposals (so as not to subscribe to all of our terrible conditions). The result: he isn't exhausted and he understands the tone in which it is necessary to address us. The perspectives, even the immediate ones, are now very favorable. I will go to Brussels next Saturday: there will be a meeting -- at [Robert] Dehoux's place -- of diverse extremist groups that have developed during the [Belgian] strike, among them the French members of Socialisme ou Barbarie and probably [Andre] Frankin, who is in contact with them and the militants of Liege. I hope that the prestige of Attila [Kotanyi] will play well. This affair can be important for our liaison with a really avant-garde workers' movement. But if Dehoux remains ambiguous, which he has appeared to us lately, then there certainly will be a purge, because the middle level of extremism promises to be elevated to the Estro Armonico[4] on that night!

Here now is very serious news that you must explain to Nash[5] and the Germans (translating exactly from this letter).

Yesterday, we received a prospectus signed by Otto and Madame Van de Loo, and by Caspari, that announced the closing of the Essen Gallery and the constitution of a laboratory to study unitary urbanism in the Munich gallery (no name given).

And so:

1) it is very amusing to see the speed and the freedom with which Constant has brought "his" unitary urbanism to the art dealers, with whom he fears to associate as much as with other situationists (to the point of preferring the construction of a church).

2) but the swindling is very strong. We have immediately dispatched Jacqueline[6] to Munich (if you have seen her, you know what's going on). She will be there on Sunday and, perhaps, on Monday, so as to interrogate Van de Loo and to note his responses, but to do no more than that. Of course, she will not hide the fact that we will not let this impudent forgery pass without reacting and making it known everywhere that the SI -- which everyone knows accounts for 98% of the history of the ideas and the real practical perspectives of unitary urbanism (the most recent issue of the SI's journal even indicates the installation of the Bureau [of Unitary Urbanism] in Brussels) -- isn't mixed up in this affair. About eight days ago, you probably received a tract in German intended to be distributed in Munich (including the press). Van de Loo's responses only interest us insofar as they will indicate the seriousness of the reprisals that we will take in every way.

This is the base that we have absolutely adopted and that we will defend at any price -- I weight my words carefully -- and I ask you to make it well understood among our friends.

This affair -- perhaps "arranged" by Caspari -- must be resolved very quickly by a total break somewhere in the links of the chain of complicity: the break can be between Constant and Caspari (Caspari can then make public his excuses for this act of forgery), or between Caspari and Van de Loo (if Van de Loo throws Caspari out), or between Van de Loo and all of the situationists. It isn't important to us where the break takes place, since we are perfectly resolved to provoke it and perfectly capable of making it happen (I suppose that one begins to know us well enough to know that we don't recoil from any "sacrifice," even one that is "regrettable" in itself).

Asger has even envisioned the possibility (which seems improbable to me) that the Spur group will not be immediately faithful in this affair. If so, we are resolved to break right away with it-doesn't-matter-who and even the whole group. Moreover, whomever collaborates in any way with this "Laboratory," without first consulting the SI, will be treated like all of the people from Arguments: the door closes on them forever.

Jacqueline will certainly speak to the Germans and explain this affair to them, especially the immediate and total character that the reaction of the situationists must have. Especially those who are in Munich.

Write me very soon. Regards to all,

P.S. Since the gangsters are not about to stop being gangsters, I add . . . two annexed notes on the economic question.

a) In case there's a break wih Van de Loo, Asger thinks he will replace his [financial] support (for eample, for the Spur group). This would only be in the Scandanavian market.

Moreover, Asger estimates that, in any case, he will withdraw himself from the affairs of Van de Loo, who will experience such a collapse that he will be quite unable to support either Constant or another group.

b) As you know, Marinotti has trusted the construction of his next exposition to Constant. He has recommended Van Eyck, the Dutch architect who was originally recommended by us.

[1] Albert Mertz, Danish experimental filmmaker, tied to the COBRA group, who produced his first film, La Fuite [The Flight], in 1942 with Jorgen Roos.

[2] "This exposition was made, by tape-recorder, on 17 May 1961 [...] at the Center of Sociological Studies of the CNRS." Cf. I.S. #6, p. 20

[3] "Utopolis Project: an agreement between the group represented by Mr Asger Jorn and the 'Arti e Costumi' Center, for the construction of Utopolis, can be envisioned on the following conditions:

"1) The group represented by Mr Asger Jorn only holds the possession and the direction of the realization of the project."

"2) The unalienable possession of the lands and the constructions, and their maintenance, belongs entirely to the 'Arti e Costumi' Center or to the company that it constitutes for the financing and exploitation of Utopolis.

"3) The group represented by Mr. Asger Jorn keeps all of the 'artistic' management in the largest sense of the term (and thus the management of all the elements that condition the way of life of the inhabitants) in the entirety of the Utopolis district. Or, if this group abandons the aforesaid management, it has the right to destroy the entirety of all the edifices.

"4) Some of the buildings, of which the number must be equal to one-fifth the total number of Utopolis buildings, will be permanently placed at the disposition of the group represented by Mr Asger Jorn.

"January 1961."

[4] The restaurant of Robert Dehoux, located in the chic suburbs of Brussels.

[5] Jorgen Nash, the younger brother of Asger Jorn, member of the Danish Abstract-Expressionist Group, joined the Scandanavian section of the SI in 1960.

[6] De Jong.

(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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