(click on image to download the PDF)
Here is the first truly significant output of this website – the first complete English translation of Guy Debord & Asger Jorn’s collaborative book “Memoires”.
The document has been put together as a facsimile of the original – with Debord’s detourned text juxtaposed in spatial relationship with Jorn’s “supporting structures”.
Every word of the text is appropriated – in a few cases from Debord’s own works (including “Report on the Construction of Situations” and the script of “Howls in Favour of Sade”). Other indentifiable sources are the plays of Shakespeare, the oratory of Boussett, Baudelaire’s prose poetry, Stevenson’s “Treasure Island”(!), along with snippets from Apollinaire, Racine, Edgar Allen Poe, François Sagan and de Gaulle(!!!!) amongst many, many others.
Where English translations already existed (or where the original text is in English) I have used these sources. All other translations are my own, made with invaluable assistance from Mehdi el H.
An interesting aspect of detournment is that the meaning of phrases can be altered by the other phrases surrounding them – so in some cases this has encouraged me to deviate from the existing translations to allow for the alternative meaning revealed by the surrounding text.
As you can imagine this has been a much bigger task than the “side project” I set off on over a year ago. But I’m really happy to be able to finally present it as a finished project.
I realise that it could be of value to some people to make some information available on the sources of Debord’s detournements (most derived from Boris Donné’s excellent book “Pour Memoires”), and the sources of the pre-existing English translations I have used.
Therefore I’ve appended some links to a version of the working notes I used in this translation.
The notes are split into 3 different documents related to the 3 sections of the book. Memoires is unpaginated, I have used a numbering scheme (also used by Donné) where the first page of Jorn’s inkwork combined with Debord’s text is denoted as “Page 1”.
Memoires Notes – Part 1: June 1952
Memoires Notes – Part 2: December 1952
Memoires Notes – Part 3: September 1953