The Situation(ist) Room

Guy Debord and Alice Becker-Ho playing Le jeu de la guerre

Guy Debord and Alice Becker-Ho playing Le jeu de la guerre

DEBORD Game of warA footnote to my previous discussion of war and simulation. In the 1950s French Situationist Guy Debord devised his own version of Kriegspiel, Le jeu de la guerre, supposedly inspired by Clausewitz. It took decades for a version to become widely available; the English edition, Game of war (Atlas, 2007), was translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith, who also translated Lefebvre’s La production de l’espace.  Debord claimed that ‘“With reservations, we may say that this game accurately portrays all the factors at work in real war.”  Not a mistake Clausewitz would have made…

Downloadable version here.  More from Nathan Heller at the wonderful bookforum here and from Alexander Galloway at cabinet here or culture machine here.

Debord’s project was, of course, about more than war in the conventional, limited sense, as the film below makes clear (‘the board is a psycho-geographic space’; ‘the rules of the game are a lecture in class warfare’): there is an interesting contrapuntal reading to be made with Foucault’s Society must be defended

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