Resurgence and the Virtual
Our desire to not only explore the social history of a particular space, but also to express it in a personal and affective way that responds to the aesthetics of that place, is one that comes about through description via our imagination. It is an individual expression which is different for everyone, in other words a psychogeographically articulated response. Alastair Bonnett says a “much broader group of people are now interested and involved in psychogeography, many of whom have no interest in the Situationists. It may be argued that this is a form of depolitization or that psychogeography has outgrown the limited and exclusionary world of the revolutionary avant-garde” (2013 Oxford Bibliographies Online: Geography). If this is the case, then the sharing of psychogeographical accounts from whatever perspective (activist or otherwise) have been enabled through contemporary technology, with websites, blogs, social networking and aided by new ‘geo apps’.
The digital and satellite way of creating maps enables a synthesis with the older peripatetic method of simply talking and writing about walks. It allows the psychogeographer to include more tools for tracking their walks, presenting their information and making it available for others to access. These maps and forms of data collection show the infinite possibility of cartographies and ways for walkers to present personal and qualitative information. They offer a large degree of control of the mapping process to the user/cartographer. The open source software that is often used for these types of collaborations to a large extent disengages the data from capitalist production and, hence, provides more freedom of expression, production and distribution. This enables their use in explorations of space, creating mapping-oriented art for pleasure or for a variety of community-based projects.
The current resurgence in walking has coincided with a renewed interest in cartography encouraged by the availability of digital tools. While these tools are often used by non-specialist users in community and arts-based projects, the contemporary psychogeographer is at once embracing and critical of the new technology, preferring to use it as one tool amongst many for creating, recording and producing output from the dérive.
Conclusion Extract 2: The Matter of Psychogeography
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