Psychogeography

Toady we started our second field project called Psychogeography. The word ‘can be traced back to Paris in the 1950s and to the Letterist Group’. Which in essence was an international movement of artist, writers and poets who aimed to break down the barriers between culture and everyday life. ‘Psychogeography became a tool in an attempt to transform urban life, first for aesthetic purposes but later for increasingly political ends. Debord’s oft-repeated ‘definition’ of psychogeography describes ‘The study of the specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organised or not, on the emotions and behaviour of individuals.’ To summarise its the mix of both psychology and geography, ‘a means of exploring the behavioural impact of urban places.’ The word, Psychogeography, can be so nebulous and hard to define because it can involve many seemly unrelated elements and yet amongst these ideas, events and identities, a number of prominent characteristics can be recognised. As a result it makes this project quite daunting but filled with possibilities.

Above is some of the examples of outcomes for this project. All by different designers encompassing many techniques. One that stood out to me was the piece by Gary Laramee. Its an exaggerated landscape carved from a series of books. The unworldly colours and exaggerated shapes make the piece feel like something from a book, funnily enough. Perhaps that is what the artist is trying to portray with this piece, the landscape may be from the books which he’s carved from. Its made with so much detail and to me feels magical, thats my perspective of the piece. Others may say they find it eery but having our unique perspectives about places is what this project is about. Another piece I thought was very clever was the typography poster by Alison Barnes. It shows all the graffitied words in Bosford. The concept is simple but unique in the fact that once this data is taken it is immediately out of date. As graffiti is constantly added to walls so its a snap shot of the time and unique in that way. As well I love the use typography, it being layered to create the overview of the streets looks so complementary. It also feels retro in that way reminding me of the Coronation Street sign and other old road signage.

In this first lesson we were also asked to create our own version of Richard Long’s 2 1/2 day circular Walk, although ours being a square route around Llandaff. We were asked to write a series of words that document our journey. I usually hate walking but having to document my surroundings and thoughts made the walk rather peaceful. I could leisurely follow the route, something I don’t often do as I’m usually walking with a purpose. Having that freedom to think was really fun and provoked some new ideas about my surroundings. I tried to write down the things that first came to my mind keeping them organic. This gave me an accurate self perception of the walk which was in its own way unique. Yet it had very strong similarities to everyone else’s walks like the main road for instance, it was documented with similar but different words. This is an example about what I was talking about earlier concerning the term pychogeogarphy as nebulous. Similarities are shown but its still a unique perspective.

This subject is quite daunting even though I’ve looked through it multiple times. The word, Psychogeography, can be so hard to define. There are so many variables to look to that I have no idea where I could start. Im going to take the project as it comes and work through it bit by bit. The more research I do the better equip I will be to this topic, so that is what I’m doing next in preparation for our field trip to the valleys.

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