Exercise Ten: Psychogeographic Mapping

The psychological basis of the metropolitan type of individuality consists in the intensification of nervous stimulation which results from the swift and uninterrupted change of outer and inner stimuli. Man is a differentiating creature. His mind is stimulated by the difference between a momentary impression and the one which preceded it. Lasting impressions, impressions which differ only slightly from one another, impressions which take a regular and habitual course and show regular and habitual contrasts – all these use up, so to speak, less consciousness than does the rapid crowding of changing images, the sharp discontinuity in the grasp of a single glance, and the unexpectedness of onrushing impressions. These are the psychological conditions which the metropolis creates.

Georg Simmel, The Metropolis and Mental Life, 1903

The production of psychogeographic maps, or even the introduction of alterations such as more or less arbitrarily transposing maps of two different regions, can contribute to clarifying certain wanderings that express not subordination to randomness but complete insubordination to habitual influences (influences generally categorized as tourism that popular drug as repugnant as sports or buying on credit). A friend recently told me that he had just wandered through the Harz region of Germany while blindly following the directions of a map of London. This sort of game is obviously only a mediocre beginning in comparison to the complete construction of architecture and urbanism that will someday be within the power of everyone.

Guy Debord, Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography, 1955

Read and briefly ponder the above pair of excerpts regarding the psychological basis of our experience of the city.

Now: shake your arms, spin in a circle, and do a jumping jack: clear your mind.

Using the set of arbitrary directions you were provided with in class, trace a path departing from the Queen Street gates of Trinity Bellwoods Park. On a single sheet of paper, take sketch and prose notes of everything you see, think and feel. Scan your sketch and post it, unedited, to the blog.

Upon completion, re-read the collection of excerpts. How does the psychogeography of the city affect our ability to map its characteristics? You may find the psychogeographic approach useful in getting to know your Project Three site. Make an active effort to clear your mind of preconceptions and explore that which conspires to remain unexplored.

Exercise Ten is due at 15:30 on Friday, March 18.

This is your final Exercise.