Second right, second right, first left, repeat. 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. De Quincey describes using the stars to guide him home.
|Published (Last):||14 February 2016|
|PDF File Size:||10.97 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||7.82 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
Psychogeography is an exploration of urban environments that emphasizes playfulness and "drifting". It has links to the Letterist and Situationist International s, revolutionary groups influenced by Marxist and anarchist theory, as well as by the attitudes and methods of Dadaists and Surrealists. Another definition is "a whole toy box full of playful, inventive strategies for exploring cities Psychogeography was originally developed by the avant-garde movement Lettrist International in the journal Potlatch.
Following Chtcheglov's exclusion from the Lettrists in , Guy Debord and others worked to clarify the concept of unitary urbanism, in a bid to demand a revolutionary approach to architecture. 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. This confusion is also fundamental to the execution of unitary urbanism as it corrupts one's ability to identify where "function" ends and "play" the "ludic" begins, resulting in what the Lettrist International and Situationist International believed to be a utopia where one was constantly exploring, free of determining factors.
In "Formulary for a New Urbanism", Chtcheglov had written "Architecture is the simplest means of articulating time and space, of modulating reality, of engendering dreams".
The Situationists' response was to create designs of new urbanized space, promising better opportunities for experimenting through mundane expression. Their intentions remained completely as abstractions. Guy Debord's truest intention was to unify two different factors of "ambiance" that, he felt, determined the values of the urban landscape: the soft ambiance — light, sound, time, the association of ideas — with the hard, the actual physical constructions.
Debord's vision was a combination of the two realms of opposing ambiance, where the play of the soft ambiance was actively considered in the rendering of the hard. The new space creates a possibility for activity not formerly determined by one besides the individual. However, the Situationist International may have been tongue-in-cheek about some parts of psychogeography.
Eventually, Debord and Asger Jorn resigned themselves to the fate of "urban relativity". Debord readily admits in his film A Critique of Separation , "The sectors of a city…are decipherable, but the personal meaning they have for us is incommunicable, as is the secrecy of private life in general, regarding which we possess nothing but pitiful documents".
Despite the ambiguity of the theory, Debord committed himself firmly to its practical basis in reality, even as he later confesses, "none of this is very clear. It is a completely typical drunken monologue…with its vain phrases that do not await response and its overbearing explanations. And its silences. Before settling on the impossibility of true psychogeography, Debord made another film, On the Passage of a Few Persons Through a Rather Brief Unity of Time , the title of which suggests its own subject matter.
The film's narrated content concerns itself with the evolution of a generally passive group of unnamed people into a fully aware, anarchistic assemblage, and might be perceived as a biography of the situationists themselves.
Among the rants which construct the film regarding art, ignorance, consumerism, militarism is a desperate call for psychogeographic action:. When freedom is practised in a closed circle, it fades into a dream, becomes a mere image of itself. The ambiance of play is by nature unstable. At any moment, "ordinary life" may prevail once again. The geographical limitation of play is even more striking than its temporal limitation. Every game takes place within the boundaries of its own spatial domain.
Moments later, Debord elaborates on the important goals of unitary urbanism in contemporary society:. The atmosphere of a few places gave us a few intimations of the future powers of an architecture that it would be necessary to create in order to provide the setting for less mediocre games. People can see nothing around them that is not their own image; everything speaks to them of themselves. Their very landscape is animated.
Obstacles were everywhere. And they were all interrelated, maintaining a unified reign of poverty. While a reading of the texts included in the journal Internationale Situationniste may lead to an understanding of psychogeography as dictated by Guy Debord, a more comprehensive elucidation of the term would come from research into those who have put its techniques into a more developed practise.
While Debord's influence in bringing Chtchglov's text to an international audience is undoubted, his skill with the 'praxis' of unitary urbanism has been placed into question by almost all of the subsequent protagonists of the Formulary's directives. The researches undertaken by WNLA, AAA and the London Psychogeographical Association during the s support the contention of Asger Jorn and the Scandinavian Situationniste Drakagygett - that the psychogeographical is a concept only known through practise of its techniques.
Without undertaking the programme expounded by Chtchglov, and the resultant submission to the urban unknown, comprehension of the Formulary is not possible. As Debord himself suggested, an understanding of the 'beautiful language' of situationist urbanism necessitates its practice. Psychogeography combines subjective and objective knowledge and studies. In the SI's 6th issue, Raoul Vaneigem writes in a manifesto of unitary urbanism, "All space is occupied by the enemy.
We are living under a permanent curfew. Not just the cops — the geometry". Since the s, as situationist theory became popular in artistic and academic circles, avant-garde , neoist , and revolutionary groups emerged, developing psychogeographical praxis in various ways. Influenced primarily through the re-emergence of the London Psychogeographical Association and the foundation of The Workshop for Non-Linear Architecture , these groups have assisted in the development of a contemporary psychogeography.
Between and The Workshop for Non-Linear Architecture undertook an extensive programme of practical research into classic situationist psychogeography in both Glasgow and London. The discoveries made during this period, documented in the group's journal Viscosity , expanded the terrain of the psychogeographic into that of urban design and architectural performance. The journal Transgressions: A Journal of Urban Exploration which appears to have ceased publication sometime in collated and developed a number of post-avant-garde revolutionary psychogeographical themes.
The journal also contributed to the use and development of psychogeographical maps  which have, since , been used in political actions, drifts and projections, distributed as flyers. Since in the United States , separate events known as Provflux and Psy-Geo-conflux have been dedicated to action-based participatory experiments, under the academic umbrella of psychogeography. Psychogeography also become a device used in performance art and literature. In Britain in particular, psychogeography has become a recognised descriptive term used in discussion of successful writers such as Iain Sinclair and Peter Ackroyd and the documentaries of filmmaker Patrick Keiller.
The popularity of Sinclair drew the term into greater public use in the United Kingdom. Though Sinclair makes infrequent use of the jargon associated with the Situationists, he has certainly popularized the term by producing a large body of work based on pedestrian exploration of the urban and suburban landscape.
Sinclair and similar thinkers draw on a longstanding British literary tradition of the exploration of urban landscapes, predating the Situationists, found in the work of writers like William Blake , Arthur Machen , and Thomas de Quincey.
The nature and history of London were a central focus of these writers, utilising romantic , gothic , and occult ideas to describe and transform the city. Sinclair drew on this tradition combined with his own explorations as a way of criticising modern developments of urban space in such key texts as Lights Out for the Territory. Peter Ackroyd's bestselling London: A Biography was partially based on similar sources.
Merlin Coverley gives equal prominence to this literary tradition alongside Situationism in his book Psychogeography , not only recognising that the situationist origins of psychogeography are sometimes forgotten, but that via certain writers like Edgar Allan Poe , Daniel Defoe , and Charles Baudelaire, they had a shared tradition.
Novelist Will Self had a column "Psychogeography" which started out in the British Airways Inflight magazine and then appeared weekly in the Saturday magazine of The Independent newspaper until October The concepts and themes seen in popular comics writers such as Alan Moore in works like From Hell are also now seen as significant works of psychogeography.
Other key figures in this version of the idea are Walter Benjamin , J. Ballard , and Nicholas Hawksmoor. Part of this development saw increasing use of ideas and terminology by some psychogeographers from Fortean and occult areas like earth mysteries , ley lines , and chaos magic , a course pioneered by Sinclair. A core element in virtually all these developments remains a dissatisfaction with the nature and design of the modern environment and a desire to make the everyday world more interesting.
After a few years of practicing, the psychogeography group that gravitates around the Urban Squares Initiative and Aleksandar Janicijevic,   the initiator of, and main figure in organizing and leading this group, came up with the working definition of this procedure as: "The subjective analysis—mental reaction, to neighbourhood behaviours related to geographic location.
A chronological process based on the order of appearance of observed topics, with the time delayed inclusion of other relevant instances". In Aleksandar Janicijevic published "Urbis - Language of the urban fabric" as a visual attempt to rediscover lost or neglected urban symbols. In another book was published "MyPsychogeography", an attempt to synthesize sketches and ideas which have informed his art practice. Psychogeography is practiced both experimentally and formally in groups or associations, which sometimes consist of just one member.
Known groups, some of whom are still operating, include:. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article may be too technical for most readers to understand. Please help improve it to make it understandable to non-experts , without removing the technical details.
September Learn how and when to remove this template message. For scientific disciplines, see Cognitive geography and Environmental Psychology. Can Dialectics Break Bricks?
Council for Maintaining the Occupations. Related articles. Encyclopedia of the City. The Situationist International Text Library. Utne Reader. Bureau of Public Secrets. ALba: Lettrist International. Retrieved Translated by Ken Knabb. The production of psychogeographical maps, or even the introduction of alterations such as more or less arbitrarily transposing maps of two different regions, can contribute to clarifying certain wanderings that express not subordination to randomness but total insubordination to habitual influences influences generally categorized as tourism, that popular drug as repugnant as sports or buying on credit.
Archived from the original on Mar 27, Archived from the original on Mar 30, Archived from the original on April 19, Kaufman, Vincent Guy Debord: Revolution in the Service of Poetry. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Situationist International Anthology. Berkeley: Bureau of Public Secrets.
Boston: October Press. Balsebre, Gianluigi September
Power to the psychogeographers
The ecological analysis of the absolute or relative character of fissures in the urban network, of the role of microclimates, of distinct neighborhoods with no relation to administrative boundaries, and above all of the dominating action of centers of attraction, must be utilized and completed by psychogeographical methods. Her itinerary forms a small triangle with no significant deviations, the three apexes of which are the School of Political Sciences, her residence and that of her piano teacher. But the action of chance is naturally conservative and in a new setting tends to reduce everything to habit or to an alternation between a limited number of variants. Progress means breaking through fields where chance holds sway by creating new conditions more favorable to our purposes. An insufficient awareness of the limitations of chance, and of its inevitably reactionary effects, condemned to a dismal failure the famous aimless wandering attempted in by four surrealists, beginning from a town chosen by lot: Wandering in open country is naturally depressing, and the interventions of chance are poorer there than anywhere else. Their very landscape is alive. The practice of such subdivision is in fact of great interest, but the difficulties it entails have so far prevented it from being organized on a sufficient scale.
Psychogeography was originally developed by the avant-garde movement Lettrist International in the journal Potlach. 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. The new space creates a possibility for activity not formerly determined by one besides the individual. However, the Situationist International may have been tongue-in-cheek about some parts of Psychogeography. Despite the ambiguity of the theory, Debord committed himself firmly to its practical basis in reality, even as he later confesses, none of this is very clear.