Isolation and Separation

“The country demonstrates just the opposite fact – isolation and separation” (The German Ideology) As it de­stroys the cities, urbanism institutes a pseudo-countryside devoid not only of the natural relationships of the country of former times but also of the direct (and directly con­ tested) relationships of the historical cities. The forms of habitation and the spectacular control of today’s “planned environment” have created a new, artificial peasantry. The geographic dispersal and narrow-mindedness that always prevented the peasantry from undertaking independent action and becoming a creative historical force are equally characteristic of these modem producers, for whom the movement of a world of their own making is every bit as inaccessible as were the natural rhythms of work for an ear­lier agrarian society. The traditional peasantry was the unshakeable basis of “Oriental despotism” and its very scatteredness called forth bureaucratic centralization; the new peasantry that has emerged as the product of the growth of modern state bureaucracy differs from the old in that its apathy has had to be historically manufactured and maintained: natural ignorance has given way to the organized spectacle of error. The “new towns” of the technological pseudo-peasantry are the clearest of indications, inscribed on the land, of the break with historical time on which they are founded; their motto might well be: “On this spot nothing will ever happen – and nothing ever has.” Quite obviously, it is precisely because the liberation of history, which must take place in the cities, has not yet occurred, that the forces of historical absence have set about designing their own exclusive landscape there.

Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle (1967)

Luis Callejas + LCLA, Heathrow Airplot. Weightless (circa 2010)