Article summary: Keith Bassett

In Honours blog on June 2, 2009 at 2:31 pm

Bassett, Keith. “Walking as an Aesthetic Practice and a Critical Tool: Some Psychogeographic Experiments” Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 1466-1845, Volume 28, Issue 3, 2004, Pages 397 – 410

Keith is a teacher who sends his classes to do fieldwork in Paris. Very cool. He turns his classes into practising psychogeographers. Maybe Adrian can organise to send me to Paris for a few days of deacuterive?

“The flâneur…portrayed as a disinterested, leisurely observer (invariably male) of the urban scene, taking pleasure in losing himself in the crowd and becoming a secret spectator of the changing spectacle od spaces and places in the city.” (pg. 398) Does this sound like me? Apart from the male part maybe? Probably not, I don’t think I want to do the disinterested part. But the rest sounds fine. I do like to participate as well as spectate though…

“Walking the city was a strategic device to give up conscious control, submit to risk and chance, and reveal the unconsciousness zones of urban life.” (pg. 399)

“The derivé was thus to be more than just strolling; it was a combination of chance and planning, an ‘organised spontaniety’, designed to reveal some deeper reality to the city and urban life.” (pg. 401)

“One could derivé alone but Debord thought small groups were preferable.” (pg. 401) Perhaps I could bring a few people along on each podcast? My derivé podcast posse.

“The derivé is thus a kind of elaborate game, but one that leads to a radical re-reading of the city.” (pp. 401-402)

“Psychogeography demanded new forms of cartography, capable of representing states of consciousness and feeling.” (pg. 402.)  See here for an example of one of these maps with feeling embedded. Very cool. Maybe I could attempt something similar for each podcast? Doable? Too-hard basket?

“Inevitably, any project work will be something of a compromise with Situationist principles, which were, after all, linked to forms of radical transgression prefiguring the ultimate overthrown of capitalism. ” (pg. 403)  My thoughts exactly! So I’ll incorporate it a little, maybe leaving out some of the more radical aspects, and sneaking into abandoned buildings and hitchhiking.

“One group commented on the nature of ‘layered spaces’ which seem to have contested or multiple meanings, not easy to disentangle…Most groups also commented critically on the dominance of ‘the tourist gaze’ in focusing their attention on striking buildings or monuments (Urry, 1990, 2000)” (pg. 407).

Overall a very useful paper, as it was all about people actually engaging in the psychogeography.


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