Psychogeography Definition: the study of the influence of geographical environment on the mind or on behaviour. The geographical environment of a particular location, typically a city, considered with regard to its influence on the mind or on behaviour.
How do different places make us feel and behave? The term psychogeography was invented by the Marxist theorist Guy Debord in 1955 in order to explore this. Inspired by the French nineteenth century poet and writer Charles Baudelaire’s concept of the flâneur – an urban wanderer – Debord suggested playful and inventive ways of navigating the urban environment in order to examine its architecture and spaces.
While the term originated in the 1950’s, we can go much further back to gothic representations of the city, and even as far back as Defoe, who could be said to be the progenitor of a psychogeographic analysis of urban space. For psychogeography as a movement is essentially the tale of two cities: London and Paris.
Paris exists as the home and birthplace of the term while London has long been inhabited by what are predominantly psychogeographic ideas. Figures such as Blake, de Quincey, Robert Louis Stevenson and Arthur Machen were all responsible for an imagining of a city that had a spirit of place, and looked for ways to experience what were familiar surroundings in new and insightful ways. They essentially were experiencing their city in a way the movement in Paris would be describing years later.
What I understand from this is that its the people around us the way getting from a-n can be more interesting by not following a straight line. These days there are apps that show us the quickest route but no-one explore anymore. It give a more control chaos and joyful encounter of unplanned events with something hidden being revealed that wouldn’t have been found through the straight forward route.
I found this brief to be difficult and at first picking a theme was hard but psychogeography was the one that made the most sense to me. When having our tutorial I done some research but had no ideas. This is the fact that not just wandering trough it to get to where you need to go its the experience thats happens when your there. I also had the idea of typographic map and map that are found in zoo that give more of an experience they are and advert map. This tutorial has made me more aware of what is to be expected and understand the brief more.
I need to think about these few points:
Where will the expedition be?
Who is it for?
The back story
When coming away from the tutorial I knew I wanted to look into the map idea. Then I thought about how different people find there way to the same place. The way that I would make my way to the centre of town having lived here all my live would be different to someone who only just moved here. The way my friends would walk would also be different again. It also made me think about when my family went to Greece my grammy had already been there so he drew a map of all his favourite place in the way he thought about it and how that map got us to where we need to go better than a map of the area because it was a more simplified stripped back version.
I was thinking of looking into the different way people would get from A-B and how the longest route might be the way people not from here would go, which is probably the more interesting route. Whereas I would walk the shorter back route way.
Danish artist Asger Jorn 1959
“Asvirus 37” by Derek Lerner, original pen and ink
Thomas Kellner Photography
These images were what started my ideas.