Did a presentation for the Kent Architecture Centre last week on psychogeography and the derive in the context of the Remapping High Wycombe project that I worked on with Cathy.
So it was back to Wycombe, to BCUC, almost a year to the day since we did our Reframing Wycombe screening of archive films and five months since our last intervention, Significant Sites.
The conference was called Shaping Places, aimed at built environment professionals of all disciplines, teachers and artists; with an emphasis on engaging young people and the general community with architecture.
I opened up with Debord’s classical psychogeography, Sinclair’s fugue and reverie, and Greil Marcus’s quote about “encountering the unknown facets of the known etc.”; described our use of Social Fiction’s algorithmic derives, and showed the film we made about one of our Lunchtime Dérives with an office worker. Cathy spoke about her mapping workshop with Highcrest Community School.
The presentation seemed to be well received, particularly the notion of elevating a person’s own perception of place and the urban realm to the same level as traditional heritage, that a public loo in a car park could have the value as a listed Georgian building. Surprisingly, even urban planners seemed to welcome the idea that the dérive led people to question ownership and control of space, to ask who owned what and whether it was being used in the collective interest. I found this very encouraging.
There’s some more information about the presentation on the project blog: http://remappinghighwycombe.blogspot.com