Guy Debord’s “Society of the Spectacle”

Image of Society of the Spectacle book cover imageUbuweb has been on a serious tear recently, and I love their twitter feed cause I get to see those gems as they roll out. Is there any better resources on the web for 20th century avant-garde art than ubuweb?

Recently they posted Guy Debord’s classic film—based on his classic book—Society of the Spectacle in its entirety with English subtitles. You can find it here. Bully for UBUWEB. The film version of Society of the Spectacle is an amazing example of filmic mashup as intellectual social critique, and I’m thinking it’s going to be the basis of an assignment for ds106 next semester.

Anyway, I think a mashup of Society of the Spectacle narrated by Videodrome‘s Dr. Oblivion is my next project. Enjoy the madness.

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6 Responses to Guy Debord’s “Society of the Spectacle”

  1. Brian says:

    “We know that UbuWeb is not very good. In terms of films, the selection is random and the quality is often poor. The accompanying text to the films can be crummy, mostly poached from whatever is available around the net. So are the films: they are mostly grabbed from private closed file-sharing communities and made available for the public, hence the often lousy quality of the films. It could be done much better.”

  2. Reverend says:


    Awesome, and the paragraph directly above that is what so much of the online world has gotten away from:

    A few things: first of all, Ubu doesn’t touch money. We don’t make a cent. We don’t accept grants or donations. Nor do we — or shall we ever — sell anything on the site. No one makes a salary here and the work is all done voluntarily (more love hours than can ever be repaid). Our bandwidth and server space is donated by universities.

    I mean just tonight Matt Gold tweeted this from Tom Schoefeld talking about Digitl Humanities funding from Google:

    mkgold: In response to a question about effect of Google funding on DH , @foundhistory says no real qualms. All funding comes w/strings. #cunydhi

    Link to tweet.

    I like to look at these two approaches to the web and the future of sharing and learning online quite closely. There is something in the varying approaches that strikes me….hmmmmm, what is it? Hmmmm…..funding with strings—kinda like the strings attached to medical research funding provided by pharmaceutical companies. How can their be such little critical space in that regard?

  3. Joss says:

    On the subject of detourned, cut-up and mashed up film, have you seen any of Bruce Conner’s work? Genius.

  4. Brian says:

    I remember co-curating a Conner Film Festival when I was a student in Montreal. In reality, it was a few underfed and overbeered grad students with a key to the screening room and a bunch of videos borrowed from a prof, but it was success.

    As an aside, is there an easy code script to embed Ubu movies on our own sites? I can’t imagine they could object, and I just wasted an hour trying to embed this on the Abject.

  5. Reverend says:

    Yeah, it is kinda odd they don’t have embed, even has embed now. That said.’s embed code automatically plays the video which is highly annoying.

    I found the url to the video in the page source, and then just wrapped it in an iframe like so:

    And then put it on a UMW Blogs blog, which allows iframes. You can see it here:

    That said, it is as slow as hell loading, and should really be on YouTube or Vimeo, or your own VideoPress server 🙂

    Edit: It is actually working right in the comments here on the bava much better than on UMW Blogs, go figure. here is the code, all you need to do is finish wrapping the open and close iframe tag around the code below:

    IFRAME src=”” width=”640″ height=”500″ scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0″>[Your browser does not support frames or is currently configured not to display frames. Please use an up-to-date browser that is capable of displaying frames.] [insert closing iframe tag here]

  6. Brian says:

    Thanks for this… it seems there really is no ‘easy’ way to do it (besides re-pirating the pirates on another service).

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