Spring 2008

– Spring 2008

Spring 2008 - Spring 2008

Contextual Essays


Events, Works, Exhibitions


Pablo Lafuente

This spring marks forty years since the events of May '68. On the occasion of this anniversary, during the upcoming months there will likely be numerous articles published in magazines and papers, as well as symposia and discussions assessing - once more - the legacy of a time that saw diverse social movements take to the streets in France, but also in Eastern and Western Europe, the United States and South America. Perhaps this time the conventional image of May '68 as a youth revolt will be accompanied by a wider reflection on the socio-political implications of a movement that was not exclusively a students' initiative, but, importantly, a coming together of students and workers as part of an egalitarian move that questioned the existing social order and proposed an alternative way of understanding what it means to live together.

What seems for us important about May '68 are both its responsive character to concrete situations - to what was going on, for example, in Vietnam or, in the French context, to the recent history of the Algerian war - and its belief that another model was possible, one that blurred the distinctions between different social strata and questioned entitlements and assumed capacities. The students and intellectuals who took up jobs in assembly lines in factories - a process known as établissementsoixantehuitard as a libertarian hedonist, by claiming that exchange between different groups and the conflictive sharing of interests between them constituted the way to effect social change.

When this issue of Afterall was planned, May '68 was not part of the editorial discussion, but it is perhaps not surprising that a number of the artists and topics

  1. We would like to thank Kristin Ross for pointing us to the former film, and Hito Steyerl to the latter.