Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography, 2. At a conference in Coscio de Arroscia, Italy in , the Lettrists joined the International Movement for an Imaginist Bauhaus to set a proper definition for the idea announced by Gil J. The implication of combining these two negations is that by creating abstraction, one creates art, which, in turn, creates a point of distinction that unitary urbanism insists must be nullified. Their intentions remained completely as abstractions.
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Romantic writers, Letterists, Situationists and modern writers have all played a part in the development of psychogeography. Although psychogeography was not recognised as a term until the early s, the idea has been around in literature for much longer, like in the poetic writings of Poe or Blake. Having no knowledge of celestial navigation he finds himself in unfamiliar territories, discovering what he believes are streets anonymous to maps, thus reimagining the city in his own eyes.
The political drive behind psychogeography became more apparent in the s with the Situationists. One of these acts of play was psychogeography. But what relevance does psychogeography bear today? With the increased use of GPS or Google Maps it seems that we have become altogether more and less connected, with the digital world at our fingertips whilst the real world takes a back seat. Debord goes further and suggests that cities are capitalist designs made to accommodate the increased sale of automobiles, and exploit the need to travel from A-B, thus the increased inability to navigate our surroundings individually contribute to the infiltration and dominance of capitalist culture.
Walking also has gendered implications. Most apparent is the idea that getting lost in a city is a sure fire way to learn how to get found again.
More than this though, walking is time spent outside of the realms of profit, one is neither working nor buying. This in itself opposes uniformity and is further reinforced by the creative and play aspects of psychogeography. In present day, the term psychogeography covers more than navigation, play and the city. The inability to travel a distance by foot is a stifling factor that contributes to a lack of personal empowerment. There are, however, current examples of psychogeographers in action.
Run Dem Crew is a community of runners founded by poet Charlie Dark. Their aim is to run fast, strong and far whilst exploring the city of London. Urban explorers also provide examples of modern psychogeographers who access prohibited spaces — like photographer Peter Costello — heaving forgotten urban landmarks back onto our maps. Psychogeography exists, and has existed in many forms but never has it seemed more relevant. In an increasingly apathetic society there is a need to revive the joys of discovery, play and self-empowerment.
So have a ramble, take a walk, and get lost.
At a conference in Cosio di Arroscia, Italy in , the Lettrists joined the International Movement for an Imaginist Bauhaus to set a proper definition for the idea announced by Gil J. Wolman : "Unitary Urbanism - the synthesis of art and technology that we call for — must be constructed according to certain new values of life, values which now need to be distinguished and disseminated. The implication of combining these two negations is that by creating abstraction, one creates art, which, in turn, creates a point of distinction that unitary urbanism insists must be nullified. Their intentions remained completely as abstractions. The new space creates a possibility for activity not formerly determined by one besides the individual.
Garage publishing program in collaboration with Ad Marginem Press. Minima Series Eight essays by the famous author of The Society of the Spectacle explore the urban space as a platform for resistance and a promise of a new way of life. An experimental drift, usually undertaken by small groups of people, is guided by chance and the energy of the space and allows the forming of a sensory map of the city. Only such outings, Debord argues, can turn life into an exciting game and a continuous critique of forced entertainment, subverting the existing modes of collective leisure and living taught to us through advertising, spectacle, and consumption.
Psychogeography by Guy Debord
The psychogeographic slopes were symbolized by red arrows indicating the forces the city exerted on drifters freed from other motivations for moving: drifters would be pulled in the direction of the arrows from one unity of ambiance to another. The weight, shape, and patterning of the arrows indicated the lengths and strengths of the psychogeographic slopes. Pick up the map, go out in the city, and walk the circle, keeping as close as you can to the curve. Record the experience as you go, in whatever medium you favour. A friend recently told me that he had just wandered through the Harz region of Germany while blindly following the directions of a map of London.