Publication Date

Fall 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Art and Art History


Dore Bowen


Asger Jorn, Book Arts, Collage, Guy Debord, Mapping, Psychogeography

Subject Areas

Art history; Caribbean literature


The artistic collaborations between Guy Debord and Asger Jorn blossomed in 1957, and have typically been explored in terms of their context within the canon of the Situationist International (SI), a notorious group of political thinkers and activists who formed in July, 1957, with a shared repulsion for capitalism and consumerism. Before co-founding the SI with Jorn and several other individuals, Debord was part of the Lettrist International, a splinter group of the Lettrists, which allowed Debord more authority and autonomy to create his first film, Hurlements en Faveur de Sade (Howls for Sade, 1954), and explore other media that would become synonymous with the liminal period when Debord was splitting from the LI and forming the SI. The book explored in this thesis, Mémoires (1959), is a visual narrative loosely based on Debord’s time in the Lettrists, which takes place during this transitional period between his political and artistic groups. Mémoires has traditionally been examined by leading scholars in the field of Art and Art History as an important project between Debord and Jorn, but has not been critically analyzed by American and English-speaking scholars through first-hand experiences with the book. My personal encounters with several different editions of Mémoires at three disparate archives is documented in this thesis, which will ultimately argue that the book is a critical work in the pre-Situationist canon, and one which can be viewed as a revolutionary, albeit idealistic, road map for the future, when placed in its historic context.