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In his early years in Budapest, Attila Kotányi belonged to the intellectual circle of philosopher Lajos Szabó (with whom he kept being engaged in a philosophical conversation for 20 years) and Béla Hamvas. In 1956, after the failed Hungarian revolution, he emigrated with his family to Brussels where he continued studying and eventually graduated in urbanism. In the early 1960s he became a member of the Situationist International where for the two following years worked in the editors' committee of the S.I. bulletin and entered in close friendship with Guy Debord. His contributions to the bulletin include Gangland and Philosophy (1961), Programme élémentaire du bureau d'urbanisme unitaire (1961) co-authored with Raoul Vaneigem and Theses on the Paris Commune co-authored with Guy Debord and Raoul Vaneigem (1962). He was excommunicated by Debord in 1962 for his alleged "Christian mysticism". Later he moved to Düsseldorf, Germany, where he taught for 12 years at the Düsseldorf Art Academy. Beyond poetry and philosophical conversations he also painted and did smaller architectural works. In the 1990s he returned to Budapest where he pursued the last active period of his life, gathering a steady circle of young intellectuals in his Saturday afternoon conversations where he was elaborating on his Sabbath-theory, the radical suspension of activity. He died in Düsseldorf due to complications of a stroke.