“I have never been so intellectually turned on.”
Those were my exact words this morning, eliciting a skeptical glance from my friend Sam. They came post-lecture, a lecture in which I took notes feverishly and simultaneously did research on the internet and tried to type as quickly as could in order to capture all of the new ideas pouring into my brain. The topic of the lecture? Psychogeography.
Okay, maybe I’ve been falling madly in love with this concept since I read a sizable chunk of Mythogeography a few days ago. Or perhaps, since the tender young age at which I realized that I get lost really easily — a revelation that has made me conscious and appreciative of the intense processes of locational self-re-discovery that I am always subjecting myself to, whether somewhere strolling in the cornfields of Minnesota or running at random in the light of early-morning Berlin. Definitely from the moment I read Michel de Certeau‘s Walking in the City, and first conceived of the city as text — now, I am discovering that there is an experiential-experimental, critical-creative world of almost-academic reinterpretation of the city that makes meaningful my tendency to lose myself and my love of the urban landscape and the loveliness of being alone and looking for nothing in particular and therefore finding everything. This is psychogeography. This is the legacy of Guy DeBord, of Baudelaire, of Dada and Surrealism and the Lettrists and the Situationists, continued today by Will Self and Iain Sinclair and Stewart Home, and now, ME.
As part of our new media studies trip, we’re supposed to be designing derivés (psychogeographical walks) for ourselves, and I am simply brimming with ideas and excitement about this. I’ve been testing some of my thoughts as I wander the city, thoughts not yet organized to truly count as self-contained performances of walking, but nonetheless — I’ve followed other people at random, followed only people holding hands, created street-crossing algorithms, put my iPod on shuffle and turned every time the song changed, I’ve gone out into the world as a departed soul with the goal of determining if I have gone to heaven or to hell. In stumbling about through a multitude of potential psychogeographic ways of exploring, I am sort of engaging in a meta-psychogeographic, randomly associative walk through my own mind and my newly-forming conception of all the things that psychogeography is now and may yet be. Hopefully before I depart Berlin, I can fully engage with several of my many many MANY ideas, and I will undoubtedly make use of this blog as a forum and medium for translating my performances and experiences into document. But I have a feeling this will be something I do beyond Berlin.
When I fall in love, I fall hard, I fall fast, and I fall pure. This is hopeless romanticism of the mind and of the feet.