||It has been suggested that this article be merged into Situationist International. (Discuss) Proposed since March 2011.|
Situationist prank is a term used in the mass media to label a distinctive tactic by the Situationist International, consisting of setting up a subversive political prank, hoax or stunt; In the terminology of the Situationist International, stunts and media pranks are very similar to situations. The détournement technique, that is "turning expressions of the capitalist system against itself," was the essential element of a situationist prank. The Situationist tactic of using détournement for subversive pranks is such a distinctive and influential aspect of the Situationist International, that they are sometimes labeled as a group of political pranksters.
The tactic was reprised by the punk movement in the late 1970s, with Malcolm McLaren's launch of the Sex Pistols, and inspired the culture jamming movement in the late 1980s. The expression situationist prankster has been later established as a typical label used on those who perform media pranks or publicity stunts.
By Situationists 
Notre-Dame Affair on National TV 
One of the earliest Situationist pranks, The Notre-Dame Affair was an intervention performed by members of the radical wing of the Lettrist movement (Michel Mourre, Serge Berna, Ghislain Desnoyers de Marbaix and Jean Rullier), on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1950, at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, while the mass was aired lived on National TV. Michel Mourre, dressed in the habit of a Dominican monk and backed by his co-conspirators, chose a quiet moment in the Easter High Mass to climb to the rostrum and declaim before the whole congregation a blasphemous anti-sermon on the death of God, penned by Serge Berna.
Strasbourg scandal 
Taking advantage of the apathy of their colleagues, five "Pro-situs", Situationist-influenced students, had infiltrated the University of Strasbourg's student union in November 1966 and began scandalising the authorities. Their first action was to form an "anarchist appreciation society" called The Society for the Rehabilitation for Karl Marx and Ravachol; next they appropriated union funds to flypost "Return of the Durruti Column", Andre Bertrand's détourned comic strip. They then invited the Situationists to contribute a critique of the University of Strasbourg, and On the Poverty of Student Life, written by Tunisian Situationist Mustapha/Omar Khayati was the result.
The students promptly proceeded to print 10,000 copies of the pamphlet using university funds and distributed them during a ceremony marking the beginning of the academic year. This provoked an immediate outcry in the local, national and international media.
Sanguinetti's Report to save capitalism 
By 1972, Gianfranco Sanguinetti and Guy Debord were the only two remaining members of the SI. Working with Debord, in August 1975, Sanguinetti wrote a pamphlet titled Rapporto veridico sulle ultima opportunita di salvare il capitalismo in Italia (Eng: Veritable Report on the Last Chances to Save Capitalism in Italy), which (inspired by Bruno Bauer) purported to be the cynical writing of "Censor", a powerful industrialist. The pamphlet was to show how the ruling class of Italy supported the Piazza Fontana bombing and other mass slaughter, for the higher goal of defending the capitalist status quo from the communist claims. The pamphlet was mailed to 520 of Italy's most powerful individuals. It was received as genuine, and powerfully politicians, industrialists and journalist praised its content and guessed on the identity of its high profile author. After reprinting the tract into a small book, Sanguinetti revealed himself to be the true author. Scandal raised after the revelation, as it successfully exposed the truth and hypocrisy on the mass slaughters, and under pressure from Italian authorities, Sanguinetti left Italy in February 1976, and was denied entry to France.
The expression situationist prankster has been later established as a typical label used on those who perform media pranks or publicity stunts, as in the cases of The KLF, the K Foundation, Genesis P-Orridge, Harun Farocki, and others.
See also 
- Ken Knabb Gianfranco Sanguinetti
- Holt (2010) p.252
- Marrone, Gianfranco (2005) Sensi alterati: droghe, musica, immagini, p.45, quote:
[...] gioco al coplotto, alla manipolazione dei media, alla beffa, alla "grande truffa," o al detournement -- inventato dai situazionisti e ripreso dai punk -- che appunto del situazionismo sono talvolta concreti continuatori. Pensiamo in questo senso al fin troppo noto caso, esagerato dai media, ma paradigmatico, del manager dei Sex Pistols, Malcom McClaren, a partire dal quale, nell'estate del 1977, si scateno', con grande scandalo, il lancio del gruppo dei Pistols in pieno Giubileo della regina, e l'interesse della stampa per la nascente scena punk. Tuttavia, anche in questo caso non si tratta, come invece e' stato spesso sostenuto, di freddo "gioco a tavolino", di cinismo, di furbo lancio di un prodotto da parte di chi aveva studiato i media e lavorava sulla guerriglia semiologica (cfr. Fabbri P. 2002, p.40), di una tattica che sarebbe poi stata facilmente sfruttata e fatta propria da quel momento in avanti dall'industria culturale mainstream.
- Sandlin, Jennifer A. (2009) Critical pedagogies of consumption p.240 quote:
Through artistic interventions, hoaxes, tactical media pranks, or what the SI called "situations," culture jammers direct public attention ...
- Franks, Benjamin (2006) Rebel alliances: the means and ends of contemporary British anarchisms p.315
Stunts are very similar to situations but have an additional characteristic, namely that the imaginative interaction is aimed at the mainstream media, the intention being that they broadcast the prank to a wider public
- Vincentelli, Elisabeth (2004) ABBA gold
- Fortnight, Issues 335-345 p.349
- The rough guide to rock edited by Peter Buckley
- Harun Farocki: working on the sightlines By Thomas Elsaesser p.106
- snarkout: to have done with the judgment of god
- miro renzaglia - COSTRUIRE L'UNITA' D'AREA/2
- miro renzaglia - SITUAZIONISMO
- Plant, Sadie (1992). The Most Radical Gesture. New York: Routledge. p. 94. ISBN 0-415-06222-5.
- Vague, Tom (1997). Anarchy in the Uk: the Angry Brigade. Stirling: AK Press. pp. 13–14. ISBN 1-873176-98-8.
- George Gimarc (1994) Punk Diary 1970-1979, p.47
- Sabin, Roger (1999) Punk rock: so what? : the cultural legacy of punk, p.182
- Holt, Douglas and Cameron, Douglas (2010) Cultural Strategy: Using Innovative Ideologies to Build Breakthrough Brands, Oxford University Press