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Ivan Chtcheglov (1934 - )

Related: Hacienda - Situationist International - Russia


Ivan Chtcheglov, born 1934, is a Russian political theorist, activist and poet, active in France but formerly resident of the Soviet Union.

He wrote "Formulary for a New Urbanism" in 1953, at age nineteen under the name Gilles Ivain, which was an inspiration to the Lettrist International and Situationist International. It develops some of the ideas of Charles Fourier.

He tried to deconstruct the Eiffel Tower and was arrested in Paris and committed to a mental hospital by his wife, where he was subdued with insulin and shock therapy, and remained for 5 years.

His plans for the new urbanism, were formulated in 1953. The city is boring, everybody is bored, humor has died, city-poëtry is going down, stories and sages are being pushed away by socio-economical policy reports and citylive is making room for repeting protocols. Chtcheglov pleaded for an architecture of ambiance en situations. He visualised neighberhoods of luck, streets of tragedie, historical blocks, a citypart of the dead, a neighberhood of missary, a scary alley, and so on.. Cityparts with a positive and negative radiation should follow each other up so that every sense of citymembers would be activated, and they would be able to learn how they would want to live, think, feel and create. The city would become a center of discouveries and adventures- it would make life pleasurable, sexy, interesting and exiting.

He was influenced in this by the Picatrix. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Chtcheglov [Mar 2006]


“Ivan Chtcheglov participated in the ventures that were at the origin of the situationist movement, and his role in it has been irreplaceable, both in its theoretical endeavors and in its practical activity (the dérive experiments). In 1953, at the age of 19, he had already drafted — under the pseudonym Gilles Ivain — the text entitled “Formulary for a New Urbanism,” which was later published in the first issue of Internationale Situationniste. Having passed the last five years in a psychiatric clinic, where he still is, he reestablished contact with us only long after the formation of the SI. He is currently working on a revised edition of his 1953 writing on architecture and urbanism. The letters from which the following lines have been excerpted were addressed to Michèle Bernstein and Guy Debord over the last year. The plight to which Ivan Chtcheglov is being subjected can be considered as one of modern society’s increasingly sophisticated methods of control over people’s lives, a control that in previous times was expressed in atheists being condemned to the Bastille, for example, or political opponents to exile.” (Introductory note to Chtcheglov’s “Letters from Afar,” Internationale Situationniste #9, p. 38.)

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