Psychogeography is essentially the broad terrain where geography – in terms of the design and layout of a place – influences the experience, i.e. the psyche and behaviour, of the user. It has walking as a central component (Alexander 2013 p74)
Guy Debord (1931–94) leader of The Situationist International defined psychogeography as follows:
“Psychogeography could set for itself the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, whether consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals. The charmingly vague adjective psychogeographical can be applied to the findings arrived at by this type of investigation, to their influence on human feelings, and more generally to any situation or conduct that seems to reflect the same spirit of discovery.”
(http://www.cddc.vt.edu/sionline/presitu/geography.html quoted Alexander 2013 p74)
Psychogeography in literature has a long history. London, as imagined by writers including William Blake (1757–1827), Daniel Defoe (1659–1731), Thomas de Quincey (1785–1859) and Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–94), Stevenson in The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), have all been identified as a place where early traces of psychogeography can be found.
It has also veered between being:
- a mode of artistic expression
- associated with Marxist ideology and political and social change.
Two inter-linked terms that are key to understanding psychogeography:
- The dérive is a key method of psychogeographical enquiry. The literal translation from the French is ‘drift’ and a dérive is a spontaneous, unplanned walk through a city, guided by the individual’s responses to the geography, architecture and ambience of its quarters.The dérive can be seen as one strategy to help bridge the gap between the actual, physical observations of the stroller and their subconscious. Similar techniques have been used in geography, sociology and anthropology as a means of research that opens up possibilities and new questions based on direct observation.
- The flâneur (a term that originates from Charles Baudelaire and Walter Benjamin) is essentially the protagonist of the dérive, but more generally the ‘gentleman stroller’ (as Baudelaire put it) who enjoys the aesthetic pleasures of the sights and sounds he experiences. The emphasis here is more on the aesthetic interpretation of the observer and emotional responses to the views and events that unfold. The flâneur has been identified in Edgar Allan Poe’s The Man of the Crowd (1840) and in the shady figure lurking in the corner of Edouard Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère. Listen to Philip Pullman discussing Manet’s painting in depth.
- Brassai (1899-1984) flaneur
- Robert Adams
- Mark Power
However, alternative arbitrary methodologies have also been employed, championed initially by the Situationist movement as a necessary means – as they would see it – to subvert capitalist ideas about correctly engaging and functioning within the city. Other strategies included:
- the production of alternative maps, such as Debord’s The Naked City (1957), which attempted to facilitate users to experience the city according to their emotional state and responses.
- Robert MacFarlane’s simple alternative strategy of tracing a circle around the rim of a glass on a map and walking it, you can leave yourself open to new subject matter and unthought-of creative possibilities (see MacFarlane in Coverley, 2010, p.9).
The genre of street photography is often taken (and often mistaken) as evidence of psychogeography today. But although psychogeographical enquiry has traditionally been associated with the city, in more recent years it has expanded beyond its traditional boundaries, and is nowadays less associated with left-wing politics, having returned to a literary position.
- Iain Sinclair: fictional and non-fictional literary responses. In the book (and accompanying film) London Orbital (2002), Sinclair chronicles his epic walk along the M25 which encircles the capital, taking him to golf courses, retail and business parks, and other generic spaces.
- Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts’ book Edgelands: Journeys into England’s True Wilderness (2011), celebrates subjects as diverse as shipping containers, landfill sites and wooden pallets.
- Some have identified the urban sport of parkour (or ‘freerunning’) and even the Occupy movement with psychogeography.
Catherine Anyango uses film, sculpture and mise-en-scene devices to reconstruct physical environments that are disrupted by psychological, intangible phenomena. Many of her images are powerful graphite black and white drawings, often dealing with political issues.
Heart of Darkness 2010, a graphic novel adaptation of Conrad’s novel about colonialism
She has produced live film events around London, including the Victoria & Albert Museum and the National Film Theatre.
Current projects look at the emotional manifestations of crime and guilt upon public and private space.
In upcoming graphic novel 2×2 the banality of corruption affects the physical structure of a city and in recent drawings of crime scenes and police violence the images act as subjective evidence of horror.
She studied at St Martins and the Royal College of Art followed by an MA in English Literature at UCL. Since then she has exhibited at Art Basel Miami Beach, the London Design Festival, Guest Projects and Design Miami Basel. She is currently a Tutor in Visual Research at the Royal College of Art.o
distinctive quirky illustrations: oil paint, watercolour, lithographs. Pencil on oil. Or pencil and watercolour.
I paint Paris how I want it to look. A Paris drawn from films, books, poems. Fewer cars, less noise and stress, better clothes, nicer notice boards – or that’s what I like to imagine. I use selective vision.
flat and skewed perspective. A lot of neutral pastel colours.
somewhat randomly inserted. Different sizes. Captions give title, medium and size – as if they are to be sold???
somewhat random text. In chapters, but without clear narrative. Little vignettes with illustration.
how I see paris
Interview with Tessa Newcomb
Combine watercolour and acrylic techniques. Work dark to light or other way round. Washes and detail.
all about edges. Can work back in.
use mediums and then wash out. Print with kitchen towel and other surfaces. Lift off and blot out. Sgraffito.
texture and transfer effects.
See also post Jonathon Leyton Vera
Good look at sketching with gouache and making little gesture studies. Uses dry brush scumbling.
edited from website profile:
Mark is a freelance artist, specialising in natural history and wildlife painting. His work predominantly focuses on subjects reclaimed by nature, such as old abandoned fishing boats, rusted chains and even the door latches of shoreline beach huts. He likes to zoom in on these subjects choosing interesting areas where paint may be peeling and patterns may be forming.
Much of his art is of the Norfolk and Suffolk coast: Burnham Overy Staithe, Brancaster Staithe, Holkham Bay, Aldeburgh and Southwold. He sketches and photographs his subjects, later interpreting these drafts back in his Norfolk based studio.
He works mainly in watercolours and gouache. Using a fairly wet page he lets the paints blend and seep out and then adds detail with dry brush strokes once the page has dried. He also incorporates texture into some of his paintings using card, layers of paper and textured pastes.
Mark was born in England in 1974 and spent his childhood in Africa. He graduated from Swansea University in 1999 with (BA Hons) in general Illustration having previously obtained a BTEC HND in Wildlife Illustration. He is currently based in the historic market town of Wymondham near Norwich, Mark spends time searching for new subjects to photograph and paint.
Danish painter, sculptor and writer. In 1962 he entered the Eksperimenterende Kunst-skole (Experimental Art School) in Copenhagen.His first important one-man exhibition abroad was at the Museum Folkwang, Essen, in 1977. He later exhibited widely at public and commercial galleries throughout Europe and the USA.
A prolific artist, Kirkeby used a range of different media. He was a member of the Fluxus group and was influenced by Pop art in the 1960s. Later he was influenced by Tachism and Abstract Expressionism. The vigorous brushwork and chromatic beauty of his, mostly untitled, paintings and the sensuous modelling of his rough black bronzes have earned him the title ‘lyric expressionist’. The paintings, which tend towards the abstract, bear veiled iconographic reference, largely to the Danish landscape and the female figure.
In contrast to the poetic and dramatic character of his paintings and black bronzes Kirkeby’s brick sculptures display an unusual clarity. They make strong reference to traditional Danish housing and are inspired by Mayan architecture, as in the house-like, symmetrical form (1973) at Ikast, Denmark. In 1981 Kirkeby completed a group of such sculptures for the County Council building in Ålborg. His concern with experiment and conceptual art led him to execute a series of works in chalk on blackboard, and he regularly published poetry, essays and travel books, as well as making television and full-length documentary films. He also produced many artist’s books, such as the ‘picture novel’ Landskaberne (‘Landscapes’; Copenhagen, 1969).
Per Kirkeby: Übermalungen, 1964–84 (exh. cat., Munich, Kstraum, 1984)
Per Kirkeby: Skulpturen und Bilder (exh. cat., Zurich, Gal. Knoedler, 1985)
Per Kirkeby: Retrospektive (exh. cat., Cologne, Mus. Ludwig, 1987)
Per Kirkeby: Pinturas, esculturas, grabados y escritos (exh. cat., Valencia, IVAM Cent. Julio Gonzalez, 1989–90)
‘Per Kirkeby’, Louisiana Revue, xxx/3 (1990) [whole issue]
JENS PETER MUNK