In which they walk halfway across Manchester in the dark
April 23, 2009 at 11:02 pm
Since we started this weird hobby, we keep discovering new and exciting psychogeographical alleys to wander up. Manchester seems to be strangely full of people doing this stuff. So the latest new adventure was Urban Earth. The idea is to have people walk across big urban areas, taking a photo every eight paces and then stitching them all together into a big video montage of the journey. The routes are planned by some clever computer algorithm thing so that they take in a representative mix of the city’s affluence and deprivation. It’s all a bit strange and we approve.
So this last weekend, a bunch of people got together at teatime on Saturday on the North edge of Manchester, and walked across the city through the night, aiming to arrive near the airport in the South at sunrise on Saturday. We joined in, but we were both a bit too lazy to do the whole thing. Marie made it to Blackley – very near Boggart Hole Clough – and I made it to the city centre, before leaving them to it.
It was a very interesting and different experience. Our fellow walkers were all lovely. The route took us through lots of quiet residential areas and strange alleys, even less likely places to visit than we would normally choose. The demands of taking a photo every eight paces and working to a schedule meant that we were moving along very briskly, rather than drifting whimsically wherever we fancied.
The really striking thing was the way people reacted. You’d have thought it wouldn’t be that unusual for a bunch of people to wander through the city streets on an evening, carrying rucksacks and reading a map. But we attracted crowds of kids and loads of people asking what we were doing. It was fun to tell them we were heading for the airport, but I particularly enjoyed telling little kids that we were going on an adventure.
It really brought home the fact that cities expect and enforce certain, limited behaviours and routines. Do something even slightly out of the ordinary, and you attract attention and discover exciting new things.
We can’t really do our usual meandering zedding report this time, but here are some statistics we gathered for your delectation, and the best of the photos I took. (You can see all our photos on Flickr.)
Angry dogs – 6
Derelict mills – 4
Curious children – too many to count
Start of the walk at Shaw
Chimney with frill
What does an abstract building look like, and what kind of services does it need?
Walking over the motorway requires a cage
This made everyone giggle for some reason
Wonder what was happening in these warehouses at 11pm that required such bright lights?
Manchester Fort looked eerie and empty, but my wobbly hands and camera night mode have changed it into something else altogether
While I was taking this photo, a talking lamppost warned me to beware of car thieves. Scared the bejesus out of me
Reflections in the centre of the city
They scare me. The one on the left is smuggling peanuts and the one on the right is wilting
Fire exit? Where? Is this Torchwood or something?
Check out the Urban Earth ning for photos and videos from other people who were there!
Map: URBAN EARTH: MANCHESTER
Location: From Shaw& Crompton station to Deansgate
Date zedded: 18 April 2009
A to Z: (approximately) page 57 squares 1F, 1G, 1H, 2E; page 56 squares 3D, 4C, 5C, 5B, 6B, 6A; page 55 squares 6H, 6G; page 71 squares 1F, 1E; page 70 squares 1D, 2C, 3B, 4B, 4A; page 69 squares 4H, 5H, 5G, 6G, 6F; page 83 squares 1F, 2F, 3E, 4E; page 82 squares 4D, 5D, 6D, 6C; page 95 squares 1E, 2E, 3E; page 94 squares 3D, 4D
Getting there: train from Victoria station
Squares this expedition: 37!
Running total: 83
Entry filed under: zedding trip. Tags: Psychogeography links, zedding.