Society of the Spectacle: Canteen de Board public intervention explores the interaction of “the public” and “the private” in the university space by focusing on the signs in the university canteen at PC Hoofthuis in Amsterdam. Inspired by the recent occupation and appropriation of the university buildings against the budget cuts, privatization and financilization of the university, the privatized university canteen is taken as a case study to explore how the students can become more active in shaping the study environment. The images, signs and slogans in the canteens at PC Hoofthuis are analyzed and transformed; a flyer on the current condition of the university is left in different places in the building for other students to become part of the discussion. Chalks are left on the walls for other students to write on the canteen boards. Price tags are attached to the objects in the canteen to raise questions on the commodification of the university environment. The intervention is informed by theories on commodity culture and capitalism, as well as “play” as a political and transformative tactic, such as Guy Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle (1967) and Situationist International texts (‘Perspectives for Conscious Changes in Everyday Life’, ‘A User’s Guide to Détournement’, ‘Détournement as Negation and Prelude’, ‘Report on the Construction of Situations’ (in Ken Knabb, ed., Situationist International Anthology. Berkeley: Bureau of Public Secrets, 2006). During the presentation, students showed a series of images of the transformed images and signs in the canteen space, discussed the efficacy of resignification in learning environments and the immediate effects of commodity culture in our everyday lives.

Society of the Spectacle: Canteen de Board – Public Intervention

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