29th November – The City part 2

Strategies to creatively explore the city:

Situationism:

“Be Realistic – Demand the impossible!” – Anonymous graffiti, Paris 1968

Formed in 1957, the Situatonist International was characterised by a marxist and surrealist perspective on aesthetics and politics. Art and politics coming together in revolutionary terms. They analysed the world from the POV of everyday life. Core argument was an attack on the capitalist degradation of life and the fake models advertised by mass media. Explored the construction of situations, unitary urbanism, phsycheogeography, union of play, freedom and critical thinking.

Situationist legacy includes: Punk, Reclaim the Streets, Banksy and Adbusters.

Phsycogeography:

Defined in 1955 by Guy Debord as:

“The study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographic environment, conciously organised or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals.”

Detournment:

An artistic practice conceived by the Situationists for transforming artworks by creatively disfiguring them.

Some examples include someone camping in the city by having a car shaped tent and ‘parking’ it in a parking space at the side of a road. Or students who found their roof growing grass and used it as an additional area of space to relax in rather than treat it as a roof.

Derive:

From french word meaning to drift. Defined by the situationists as the ‘technique of locomotion without a goal’ in which people drop their usual motives for movement / action and get drawn in by attractions of the terrain and what they find there.

Flaneur:

Derived from french word ‘Flaner’ which means to stroll.

Charles Baudelaire defined it as “a person who walks in the city in order to experience it”.

Susan Sontag says “The photographer is an armed version of the solitary walker” and “the flaneur finds the world picturesque”.

Urban Exploration:

Urban explorers are those who are enthusiastic about history and architecture and share a passion for investigating abandoned buildings and their secrets.

Parkour:

human reclamation. Stepping outside of what is now considered ordinary to replicate movement in the manner of primordial humans. Teaches to touch and interact with the world and to move using natural methods.

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