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Psychogeography

2009/06/22

It seems to be in the air these days. Here it is, briefly, in an XKCD comic:

Take wrong turns. Talk to strangers. Open unmarked doors. And if you see a group of people in a field, go find out what they’re doing. Do things without always knowing how they’ll turn out. You’re curious and smart and bored, and all you see is the choice between working hard and slacking off. There are so many adventures you miss because you’re waiting to think of a plan. To find them, look for tiny interesting choices. And remember that you are always making up the future as you go.

My experiences with it involved rather aimlessly turning off of the nicely numbered streets in the Medium-sized Midwestern Town (MMT) I had just moved to. Basically, on my way to some store or something (something with no expected start time), I would randomly turn onto a side street and try to find my way back to somewhere I knew. It did help that we follow the north-south = numbered, east-west = lettered street name conventions, but still. What I managed to learn is that you can’t go very far without running into a church, suburbs are just as boring even if they’re 40 years old, and the places of interest are really not that interesting.

If I lived in Manchester, I would absolutely join the Loiterers’ Resistance Movement. Maybe I’ll start a chapter in MMT. Although, there’s not a whole lot of interesting things to find outside of the corn fields.

And all of this is based on this:

Guy Debord, Guide Pychogéographique de Paris

Guy Debord, Guide Pychogéographique de Paris (via diy cartography)

I’m not sure that I agree with the DIY Cartography application of psychogeography. It doesn’t have that dérive (“purposeless drift through the city” from the New Statesmen, link below) kind of sentiment; it seems more like a forced march through the senses. But to each his own.

A few links for your psychogeographic amusement:

The Manchester Zedders

Loiterers’ Resistance Movement

And an article in the New Statesmen.

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