What is psychogeography (my attempt to explain)

First…let us rest our eyes upon a nice photo of some work in progress…

Putting the pieces together

I thought it was time to slot in a photograph before getting into the fun of trying to string words together to make a coherent explanation.

*deep breath*

Here we go.

When I first spied this word, I tried to put together a meaning by taking it apart and defining each of its parts.  It was a guess that the word meant something like how you think of your surroundings, how your surroundings shape you, psycho, geography, thinking, place.  After googling the definition and agreeing that it had something to do with my project, I decided that that wasn’t good enough so I bought a book about it.  Thanks again, Ian, for your suggestion.  I am thoroughly enjoying ‘Psychogeography’ by Merlin Coverley.

I’ve only read through the first 30 pages, but this is the gist of what I believe the book is telling me.  London and Paris were the main cities in which psychogeography were practiced and discussed in the 50’s.  Writers had dabbled in it before but had not defined their thinking/practice/whatever as psychogeography.  It is a way of thinking of your environment.  Instead of trying to get from A to B as quickly as possible, consider your surroundings.  Consider the history of your surroundings.  Consider how they impact the people living amongst the buildings, streets, cars, hills, and so on.  Do not think of it as it currently IS, but think of it in the context of its history.  To quote directly from the book, psychogeography is:

‘…reflecting a wider awareness of ‘spirit of place’ through which landscape, whether urban or rural, can be imbued with a sense of the histories of previous inhabitants and the events that have been played out against them…This visionary continuity is described as a ‘chronological resonance’ and is the point at which place, history and identity converge…’

It’s this and more and if you want to get into more detail, I suggest you grab yourself a copy of the book.

Does that help?  I’ve been underlining bits, taking notes and drawing in the margins.

Can I just say, that if you are looking for a more in depth explanation or a philosophical discussion, I am not your person for that.  Neither am I one to discuss history or geneology or other sciences as I barely passed my science classes in high school.  I am just me.  I don’t claim to be anything more than that.  I don’t mean this is a mean way, I just don’t want you to be disappointed if I don’t respond with something deep and profound.

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2 Comments

Filed under research, the process

2 responses to “What is psychogeography (my attempt to explain)

  1. I think you’ve pretty much hit the nail on the head.
    Source : Walking around in derelict buildings for too long

  2. Pingback: psycho+geography – 10258

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