“The streets are repositories of history, walking a way to read that history.”
Rebecca Solnit (“Wanderlust: A History of Walking”)
“…in Paris, in the early 1950’s, the Lettrist group developed the technique of ‘drifting’ [dérive] and ‘psychogeography’. Drifting was free-association in space. Drifters would follow the streets, go down alleys, through doors, over walls, up trees – anywhere they found desirable. Psychogeography was the correlation of the material obtained by drifting. It was used in making ‘emotional maps’ of parts of the city, and in other ways.”
Patrick Keiller (“The View From The Train: Cities & Other Landscapes” )
The Centre for Life History and Life Writing Research, University of Sussex, in partnership with REFRAME, the multimedia and open access digital publishing platform, also at the University of Sussex, has now published a collection of life writing or audio/visual essays based on psychogeographical explorations of the town of Lewes and the area defined by Lewes District Council. You can find the collection here: https://reframe.sussex.ac.uk/newpathways.
Writers, filmmakers and artists were invited to submit a prose piece of up to 750 words in length, or an audio/visual piece of less than 8 minutes in length, or an audio feature of less than 15 minutes in length. Participants also joined a Drifting/Walking Group (facilitated by the CLHLWR) which met on three separate dates in Lewes during March & April. The group splintered and fanned out into the chosen terrain either in pairs, groups or solo, to collectively deep map varied zones simultaneously. The psychogeographic data of the event (records in audio, video, photography, GPS and text) has been curated to form a ‘mappening’ documenting our collaborative adventure in time and space.
- REFRAME is an open access academic digital platform for the online practice, publication and curation of internationally produced research and scholarship https://reframe.sussex.ac.uk/
- The Centre for Life History and Life Writing Research at the University at Sussex explores life narrative as art, history and social practice. http://www.sussex.ac.uk/clhlwr/
For more information on psychogeography see:
- Wrights & Sights: A Manifesto for a New Walking Culture: ‘dealing with the city’: http://www.mis-guide.com/ws/documents/dealing.html
- On ‘To the River’ by Olivia Laing: http://olivialaing.co.uk/#/to-the-river/4542502489
- Various writings at Research into Expanded Dramaturgies: http://expandeddramaturgies.com/?cat=12
- Elizabeth Wilson, ‘The Invisible Flâneur’, New Left Review, 1992: http://newleftreview.org/I/191/elizabeth-wilson-the-invisible-flaneur