Posts tagged ‘Psychogeography links’

In which they walk halfway across Manchester in the dark

By Liam

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

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Start of the walk at Shaw

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Subways

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Chimney with frill

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What does an abstract building look like, and what kind of services does it need?

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Manchester Sunset

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Walking over the motorway requires a cage

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This made everyone giggle for some reason

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Wonder what was happening in these warehouses at 11pm that required such bright lights?

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Manchester Fort looked eerie and empty, but my wobbly hands and camera night mode have changed it into something else altogether

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Why?

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While I was taking this photo, a talking lamppost warned me to beware of car thieves. Scared the bejesus out of me

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Reflections in the centre of the city

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They scare me. The one on the left is smuggling peanuts and the one on the right is wilting

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Fire exit? Where? Is this Torchwood or something?

Check out the Urban Earth ning for photos and videos from other people who were there!

Vital statistics
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

April 23, 2009 at 11:02 pm Leave a comment

Fifteen minutes of fame?

Sitting at home recovering from doing half of Manchester Sunrise (proper blog about that later in the week), and found out to my delight that we’ve made it into the pages of the New Statesman. Looks like we’ll get a mention in a book too.

I particularly like this comment about online psychogeographers: ‘these bloggers tend to be collaborative and tentative, more willing to explore mundanity for its own sake. For them, the city does not yield up its psychogeographic secrets readily; sometimes a bus shelter is just a bus shelter, not a site of ancient or occult significance.’ 

Amen to that.

Liam

April 19, 2009 at 12:37 pm Leave a comment

More Birmingham psychogeography

There was a big project in Birmingham where people spent 11 hours on the 11th of November riding around the number 11 outer circle bus route, producing art, blogging, photos, and so on.

 

There’s a psychogeographical report on it here.

December 1, 2008 at 12:46 pm Leave a comment

Another psychogeographer

By Liam

Just been pointed to another blogging psychogeographer: London Cross.

This guy’s describing a walk across London in two big straight lines. Similar idea to zedding, I think. He wants to make it a book too – maybe we should be talking to publishers about this blog…

April 29, 2008 at 10:54 am Leave a comment

Zedding is an academic discipline!

By Liam

After zedding Boggart Hole Clough, we discovered that another person, oddly enough, had done a similar exploration just a few weeks before.

John Davies, a vicar from Liverpool, spent two months walking the M62 corridor and blogging about it. He’s now publishing it as a book. Like us, he spent a day fruitlessly searching for boggarts.

Now this is odd enough, but it then turns out that the guy is a supporter of CAP (who I work for). I saw him speak at an event back in February, looked him up afterwards and made the link. Then I met him again today at an event in Manchester. 

I got talking to him about boggarts and tried to explain about zedding. (Figuring that anyone crazy enough to walk the M62 corridor and turn it into a book might just get it.) And he told me that there are people who do this kind of thing and treat it as situationist art, or an academic discipline. It’s called psychogeography.

Wkipedia says psychogeography is:

‘the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals’ or ‘a slightly stuffy term that’s been applied to a whole toy box full of playful, inventive strategies for exploring cities. Psychogeography includes just about anything that takes pedestrians off their predictable paths and jolts them into a new awareness of the urban landscape.’

Zedding is essentially a dérive (drift): ‘an aimless walk, probably through city streets, that follows the whim of the moment’. We are walking in the footsteps of the Dadaists, the Sitiuationists and Baudelaire! Psychogeography is also ‘an art of conversation and drunkenness’, which fits zedding pretty much perfectly.

Anyway, Manchester seems to be a pretty big centre for psychogeography. There used to be a psychogeography society here, who apparently once levitated the corn exchange. (Can’t find a live web link for that, but would love to know more…)

And this summer they’re having a psychogeography conference at the university: TRIP 2008! I am so tempted to go…

Psychogeographic Map

 

April 25, 2008 at 4:50 pm 1 comment


Running Total

135 squares

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