International was founded in 1945
in Paris by the romanian Jean-Isidore Isou
. It was mainly a reaction against Andre Breton
's dictatorial control of surrealism
and it's movement away from its conceptual origins in dada
The lettrists worked on the level of the type as the heart of an visual language, which was the base of their new culture. Isou, along with Maurice Lemaitre, worked out a notation which allowed to performe their poetry also with choral groups. Their Lexique Des Lettres Nouvelles was a sonic alphabet of about 130 sounds from which they composed their poetry.
A group of lettrists took an active part at the First World Congress of Liberated Artists (with the slogan 'The International Movement for an Imagine Bauhaus') 1956 at Alba (Italy). They published in the time from June 1954 to November 1957 29 numbers of their journal Potlatch. The last issue got the subtitle 'Bulletin d'information de l'internationale situationiste'.