Sign-Up Sheet for Destruction: DIAS Symposium, 1966

Detail from the Prospectus for the DIAS Symposium. London, 1966

Detail from the Prospectus for the DIAS Symposium. London, 1966

The Destruction in Art Symposium took place from September 9-11, 1966 at the Africa Centre in Covent Garden in connection with a number of happenings throughout the month in London. The Honororary Committee, led by Gustav Metzger, brought a great deal of international attention to various artists and groups then working in obscurity.

This call for entries, issued in advance of the Symposium, is fascinating not only for giving a brief overview of antecedents on this theme, with reference to actions by the Gutai Group, John Latham and the Skoob Towers project, Jean Tingueley, Wolf Vostell, and Millares, but also exemplifying the inclusive nature of the project. The various prospective subjects listed on the form show how extensive the Committee understood this theme to be by that point in the 1960’s. Rather than present the theme as an outlier or exotic subject, the Symposium treated destruction in various guises as being a common vantage point from which a number of seemingly disparate strands of activity had a common zeitgeist.

 

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Metzger, Gustav et al. Call for Submissions for the Destruction in Art Symposium. London: DIAS Honorary Committee, 1966. 7 7.8 x 11 1/8″ invitation, mimeographed from typescript.

This copy with the response form intact.

Folded twice for mailing, with toning and a couple of small stains. Very good.

Inquiries.

The Plankton Society and the Situationist International

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For the last issue of the Internationale Situationniste, the group produced a small number with this ostentatiously drab, fictitious cover instead of the normal metallic covers – to avoid the censors and aid covert distribution in Eastern Europe. Another fictitious cover had been designed for issue no. 10 as well.

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By 1969 the metallic covers had become so closely identified with the journal that there is a strong sense of dissonance opening the drab covers of this edition to find the IS title page. The almost impossibly drab design and tongue-in-cheek tone of the text seem to be a wink at the knowing reader, while simultaneously being persuasive enough to bore even the most diligent censor or border agent into not flipping open the book.

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There would be no further issues of the journal, but the back cover of this edition prints a curious promise:

“Un numéro spécial de notre revue paraîtra en février 1970 wui sera consacré au compte-rendu par l’équipe du Professeur Riseau-Lebel de l’expédition de recherches sur la fosse 74 de Meni-Montang (Indonésie). Nos abonnés recevront automatiquement ce numéro spécial.”

The specificity of this announcement makes it seem as if this is a specific reference to those in the know, but we can find no record of a professor Riseau-Lebel. Perhaps he or she is still in Indonesia.

Debord, Guy, dir. Plankton. The Quarterly Bulletin of the Plankton Society, Vol. XXVII, No. 3 [Cover Title]. International Situationniste No. 12.

Paris: Internationale Situationniste, 1969. 8vo, unpaginated, saddle-stapled in printed wraps. Text in French.

Please contact us for more information about this copy, or to be notified about future acquisitions.