Tag Archives: counterculture

‘In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni’ by Guy Debord is ‘world cinema classic’ #187

In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni (1978, Guy Debord) is world cinema classic #187

I watched all of this film yesterday, sparked by a renewed interest in Guy Debord, who I probably discovered in June 1994 (exactly 20 years ago) via the Wired article by R. U. Sirius on French theory, back in the day when Wired was a cool magazine.

There are several reasons why the life and work of Guy Debord should quicken your imagination:

  1. The cover of his book Mémoires is made of sandpaper to maximize damage to neighboring books when placed in and out the library shelf.
  2. His anti-film Howlings in Favour of de Sade consists of black and white screens (no images) during 52 minutes.
  3. His citing of Feuerbach’s The Essence of Christianity.
  4. He is the protagonist of the excellent read Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the 20th Century.
  5. He defined the term psychogeography and practiced la dérive and détournement.

I also posted two ‘Debord’ photos[1] [2] on Tumblr.

The Man Who Boxed Sex

I spent a considerable amount of time researching Wilhelm Reich over the weekend and I’m not done yet: I’m watching the Austrian documentary film  Wer hat Angst vor Wilhelm Reich? [1] as I write this post. Above is the cartoon “The Man Who Boxed Sex,” a malicious parody of the ‘Orgone energy accumulator’ of Wilhelm Reich. Before leaving this space, be sure to check Kate Bush’s video of “Cloudbusting” (see link below).

These biographical notes are the fruit of my labour:

Wilhelm Reich (24 March 1897 – 3 November 1957) was an Austrian psychoanalyst, a member of the second generation of psychoanalysts after Sigmund Freud, and one of the most radical figures in the history of psychiatry.

He is chiefly remembered for three things. He tried to synthesize Marxism and psychoanalysis in studies of fascism, producing the book, The Mass Psychology of Fascism, inventing Freudo-Marxism. He claimed discovery of what he called orgone energy, which many scientists still dispute and call pseudoscience. The persecution of him and his theories by the Nazi Gestapo in Germany, and later the US government (which burned his books) until his death in a US prison.

Reich continues to influence popular culture. Yugoslavian director Dušan Makavejev made a film about him, W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism (1971) and Kate Bush‘s single “Cloudbusting[2] (1985) describes Reich’s arrest through the eyes of his son, Peter, who wrote his father’s story in A Book of Dreams (1973); the video for the song features Donald Sutherland as Reich and Bush as Peter.

He was featured in the documentary The Century of the Self (2002) by Adam Curtis.