The texts brought together in this book [Pour la Forme] were separately written and published in various languages between 1954 and 1957. They constitute the dossier of an experimental venture corresponding to the historical transition between the activity organized around the journal Cobra (1948-1951) and the positions presently being articulated by the Situationist International. This work can be considered as summing up the theoretical conclusions of the International Movement for an Imaginist Bauhaus (1953-1957), which had in fact specifically set itself the task of laying the foundation for a more advanced grouping.
The consistent opposition that we were initially obliged to undertake against the neo-Bauhaus of Ulm has during those years been extended to the entire cultural front. Compromise is impossible with those who have become comfortably established within the status quo, among whom one must include those who consider that a single innovation suffices in the life of a man and that once one has had some role in the appearance of such an innovation, one can rest on one’s laurels and tranquilly grow old with it. Thus, the hope of a regrouping with certain persons with whom we previously collaborated in the same quest has been disappointed by subsequent developments; which explains why certain names that we now definitively reject can be found cited with approval in one or another of these writings. New forces will always arise that will vindicate us and help us go further. As long as one is on the move, one will not remain alone.
The aim of this work was to prove that a methodology of the arts must be conceived in the form of an experimental dialectic; and to indicate the path to follow in order to combine a dialectical attitude with an experimental attitude. Errors of detail are inevitable in a venture of such scope, especially if one takes into account the birth of new specializations and the still inevitably insufficient linkups between those specializations.
Introductory notice to Pour la Forme: ébauche d’une méthodologie des arts, a collection of Asger Jorns writings published by the Situationist International (Paris, June 1958; reprinted by Éditions Allia, 2001). Translated from the French by Ken Knabb.