6 February 2010
Psychogeography is the study of the effects of geographical settings, consciously managed or not, acting directly on the mood and behaviour of the individual. Psychogeography research is carried through non- scientific methods such as derive, aimless drifting through the city, trying to record the emotions given by a particular place; and mental mapping, the production of mood- based maps.
“The sudden change of ambiance in a street within the space of a few meters; the evident division of a city into zones of distinct psychic atmospheres; the path of least resistance which is automatically followed in aimless strolls (and which has no relation to the physical contour of the ground); the appealing or repelling character of certain places – all this seems to be neglected.” Guy Debord, ‘ Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography
Commuting to Nottingham from Leicester has given me the opportunity to develop a greater understanding of my surroundings, to look at my walk to work as an adventure. Navigating through the city, exploring different routes, finding short cuts, finding dead ends and occasionally getting lost. Unfortunately I wasn’t organised enough to make a record of every journey I made to work and at the time I wasn’t thinking about it as an activity that could be used to produce a piece of artwork.
During my walks to work I did recognise other commuters and residents taking their dogs out for a early morning walk, I didn’t really get to know any of them too well, nothing more than a polite hello or nod of the head. From time to time I did follow a few people for part of my walk and tried to walk in time with their footsteps. Following people made me feel safe particularly when I was walking home at the end of work with no one else around. I would watch how they manoeuvred past cyclists coming towards them, avoided puddles and bird poo on the pavement. I would walk behind, concentrating on the sound of their footsteps, their breathing, their music. When the weather turned icy, I would let other commuters lead the way so I could follow their path, concentrating on re-tracing their footsteps, hoping I wouldn’t slip on the ice.