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radical geography. part seven: art, experimentation, and doing geography. experimental geography.

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radical geography

radical geography

part seven: art, experimentation, and doing geography

experimental geography
experimental geography

“a blend of art and geography, the area is characterized primarily by its interdisciplinary nature, an openness to exploration by artists who reference multiple physical and conceptual sources, from the fields, for example, of science, history, economics, politics, culture, and even art, in thinking about the human use of land. These investigation take the form of maps and charts, both actual and virtual; bus tours; and physical intervention in the urban landscape or in nature.”

–from forward to Experimental Geography by Judith Olch Richards

psycho geography

PsychoGeography: “the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals.”

PsychoGeography is…

* diverse activities that raise awareness of the natural and cultural environment around you* attentive to senses and emotions as they relate to place and environment* serious fun* often political and critical of the status quo

Derive: aimless, random drifting through a place, guided by whim and an awareness of how different spaces draw you in or repel you.

(--John Krygier)

psycho geography3

"a collaborative psychogeographic experience in the form of a 24 hour exploration of San Jose. Participants drifted through new and familiar city spaces with a Glowlab coach and a mobile kit of recording tools, contributing to a collective journey of endurance and discovery with images from camera phones, audio from voice calls, and location via geocoded addresses sent by SMS."


kanarinka's project to map the evacuation route of Boston in the number of human breaths it took: "an attempt to measure our post-9/11 collective fear in the individual breaths that it takes to traverse these new geographies of insecurity."

activist spatial practice
activist spatial practice

“All space is occupied by the enemy. We are living under a permanent curfew. Not just the cops - the geometry. True urbanism will start by causing the occupying forces to disappear from a small number of places. That will be the beginning of what we mean by construction. The concept of the ‘positive void’ coined by modern physics might prove illuminating. Gaining our freedom is, in the first place, ripping off a few acres from the face of a domesticated planet.”

from Unitary Urbanism by Attila Kotanyi and Raoul Vaneigem (IS no. 6, 1961)

activist spatial practice1
activist spatial practice

The closure of the map … The last bit of Earth unclaimed by any nation-state was eaten up in 1899. Ours is the first century without terra incognita, without a frontier. Nationality is the highest principle of world governance--not one speck of rock in the South Seas can be left open, not one remote valley, not even the Moon and planets. This is the apotheosis of "territorial gangsterism." Not one square inch of Earth goes unpoliced or untaxed...in theory.

The "map" is a political abstract grid, a gigantic con enforced by the carrot/stick conditioning of the "Expert" State, until for most of us the map becomes the territory- -no longer "Turtle Island," but "the USA." And yet because the map is an abstraction it cannot cover Earth with 1:1 accuracy. Within the fractal complexities of actual geography the map can see only dimensional grids. Hidden enfolded immensities escape the measuring rod. The map is not accurate; the map cannot be accurate. ...

We are looking for "spaces" (geographic, social, cultural, imaginal) with potential to flower as autonomous zones--and we are looking for times in which these spaces are relatively open, either through neglect on the part of the State or because they have somehow escaped notice by the mapmakers, or for whatever reason. Psychotopology is the art of dowsing for potential TAZs.

--Hakim Bey, from The Temporary Autonomous Zone

activist spatial practice2
activist spatial practice

In some ways, this kind of revolutionary speech seems to belong to the last century. In this century, it seems that the map is less closed than we thought. The world is too big, or at least too fragmented & complex, for any one empire / paradigm to control. Nation-states reveal themselves as flawed fictions. Monolithic central planning and concrete apartment blocks and sprawlscapes are revealed as misguided ideas. Shopping malls across the land are dropping dead. It seems that new uses for space are not only possible, but welcomed.

What do you think?