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Themesicon: navigation pathOverview of Media Articon: navigation pathPerformance
18 Happenings in 6 Parts (Kaprow, Allan), 1959Art=Ben (Vautier, Ben)La societé du spectacle (Debord, Guy), 1967

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production processes that do not isolate art from life but instead influence life.

Allan Kaprow, whose Environment «18 Happenings in 6 Parts» (1959) originated the term «happening,» spoke of the need to keep the line between art and life as fluid and indistinct as possible,[4] a statement that inspired the provocative equation «ART=BEN»[5] from showman and Fluxus artist Ben Vautier. Another artist who propagated the notion that «life and people can be art» was Wolf Vostell, who not without good reason wrote about the «event as a whole.»[6] This demand for a holistic linkage of art and life was intended to play a part in loosening the constraints of inflexibility and tradition in both the social and political spheres, yet in its essence always referring to the individual.

The Society of the Spectacle

One of the most influential forerunners of the happening movement was probably the Situationist International, which existed from around 1957 to 1972, but built on the radical film experiments and written theses on the «Society of the Spectacle» that Guy Debord had been producing since the early 1950s:


«The construction of situations begins on the ruins of the modern spectacle. It is easy to see to what extent the very principle of the spectacle—nonintervention—is linked to the alienation of the old world. Conversely, the most pertinent revolutionary experiments in culture have sought to break the spectators psychological identification with the hero so as to draw him into activity by provoking his capacities to revolutionize his own life. The situation is thus made to be lived by its constructors.[7] According to Roberto Ohrt, it was above all the practice of using (art) objects for purposes other than originally intended, along with the category of the context, that constituted the revolutionary Situationist approach. The provocative and poetical practice[8] also included the aimless drifting («dérive») in urban space, the provocative construction of situations intended to have a direct political effect—as indeed they did during the period of student unrest in Paris. The impetus that is interesting for our context lies in the actionism targeted at media impact. The scandal

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