Thursday, 27 September 2012

The Pigeon Feather Dérive - Part 2

This is part 2 of the blog which is an account of a dérive I did with Tim Waters on Saturday 22nd of September. Please click here for Part 1.

At one point on our walk the Dérive App told us to stand still for 3 minutes. Tim spotted some chalk graffiti on the wall and we checked it out. It appears to be a symbol from Harry Potter (hence the HP) and we thought it might be for the Harry Potter Society on campus.

While the leaves below look like they are covered in frost, they are actually from the grit bunkers on campus. The bunkers seemed to have two types of salt in: the orangey stuff that us used on urban roads, but also white salt.

The university is really well organised in terms of its recycling. This seems to be the area where it is stored. It is located under the little bridge that takes you to stage@leeds.

The School of Earth and Environment are creating a Wildflower Meadow on campus - off the beaten track a bit, to protect it, I guess. But there was this sign explaining the reasons behind it. I expect it is part of the same project as the bee hive shown in the last part of the blog. Here's a tiny bit of blurb on the overall project, which is also including bird and bat boxes on campus: A new route to biodiversity

This is the final image of the blog. This football was found in Chancellors Court. I looked up the postcode and it is the Woodhouse area of Leeds.

Other University of Leeds Campus Blogs:
Schizoanalysing the University Campus
Emotionally Mapping the Campus

Monday, 24 September 2012

The Pigeon Feather Dérive - Part 1

On Saturday 22nd of September Tim Waters and myself went on a University of Leeds campus dérive. We decided to use two different methodologies to create the chance route: an urban app (well, more a website) called, unsurprisingly, Dérive App, and also Oblique Strategies, a system used to help the flow of creativity. We used the two in conjunction with each other, for example, when one or the other didn't quite work, or to help us make a particular decision in regards to our route.

It was a nice sunny day, so the campus looked lovely. Here is one of the campus' three pyramids. This one is located at the back of the Student Union and if you climb up you can look down into a chamber, which is a room that I believe is no longer used.

These interesting pieces of rock have striation and bore holes on them, maybe made by geologist exploring the campus, or even discarded by the very same. Anyway, they now sit on the ground between the E C Stoner building and the Sports Hall.

We wandered around in the underpasses below the precinct area. It is part of the underground infrastructure of the campus, built in the 1960s. There was quite a lot of maintenance-related phenomena including much pipeage and quite a lot of dripping water that had formed stalactites and stalagmites in places.

Tim spotted a lovely beehive, semi-hidden between buildings, which we were surprised to see wasn't cordoned off in any overly security-conscious way. But, then, maybe the bees themselves were a good enough deterrent.

The 'couple' below allowed us to take a photo of them. The dérive app told us to look for a couple by showing us a picture of two individuals holding hands. We spotted this chap with his arms around his 'partner'. We thought they were a couple, so I asked them if we could take a photo and explained why, but they were actually brother and sister!

The Pigeon Feather Dérive - Part 2

Other Campus Dérives:
The Forgotten Solo
The Cherry Tree Dérive
The White Horseman Dérive

Sunday, 16 September 2012

This is NOT my Summer!

Yesterday (Saturday September 15) I went to an excellent cartography workshop at the university campus called Campfire on Wild Cat Island: Workshop about literary maps, fictional geography memories.

My own map, above, is a ribbon map. These types of map are new to me, but I like their linear form. I decided to create one on the three places I visited this summer: London, Leamington Spa and Hunstanton. They highlight the urban phenomenon I came across on my travels - anything from a Porsche to a boarded up Spar shop. They also contain a few animals: a squirrel, a cat and a Herring Gull. Some topiary. The London Eye and the Boston Stump. My map also contains two tiny maps. If you can spot them, let me know what places they represent and I'll tell you if they are correct!

I decided to name it This is NOT my Summer! because obviously it isn't - it's a map!

Emotionally Mapping the Campus
Maps of Competence
Cartography: Representation and Revealing the Hidden

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Space/Place, Culture and Time (Part 2): Sigmund Freud

In part 1 of the blog I discussed Michel De Certeau's definition of the terms 'space' and 'place' from The Practice of Everyday Life, one of the main differences between the two being that place prohibits the superimposition of particular phenomenon, while space is able to cope with the contradictions of multiple and differing actors/actions, systems, agendas, etc.

Here I shall be providing an interesting spatial reference by Freud from Civilization and its Discontents which is offered as a kind of thought experiment for his readers in order to help explain how the ego operates on a developing sense of self in the individual. Freud explains that our initial sense of self - as a baby - is of an oceanic nature. It is connected to the vastness of the world, with no clearly defined subject/object boundaries. As we develop, the ego separates off from the outside world and becomes removed from this 'oneness'. However, Freud says, there is still a trace of this oceanic moment in our memory, as with those subsequent developmental phases that we seem to also forget on a conscious level (e.g. the Oedipal stages). This eloquent analogy by Freud, below, demonstrates that nothing is ever totally lost in internal space - the mind. But from the perspective of place and space, as it is for De Certeau, it offers up an example of external space, replete with its ambiguities, oppositions and negations - and how that space might be, if it weren't for place:

"Now let us make the fantastic assumption that Rome in not a place where people live, but a psychical entity with a similarly long, rich past, in which nothing that ever took shape has passed away, and in which all previous phases of development exist beside the most recent. For Rome this would mean that on the Palatine hill the imperial palaces and the Septizonium of Septimus Severus still rose to their original height, that the castle of San Angelo still bore on its battlements the fine statues that adorned it until the Gothic siege. Moreover, the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus wuld once more stand on the site of the Palazzo Caffarelli, withought there being any need to dismantle the latter structure, and indeed the temple would be seen not only in its later form, which is assumed during the imperial age, but also in its earliest, when it still had Etruscan elements and was decorated with terracotta antefixes. And where the Coliseo now stands we could admire the vanished Domus Aurea of Nero; on the Piazza of the Pantheon we should find not only the present Pantheon, bequeathed by Hadrian, but the original structure of M. Agrippa; indeed, occupying the same ground would be the church of Maria sopra Minerva and the ancient temple over which it is built. And the observer would perhaps need only to shift his gaze or his position in order to see the one or the other.

It is clearly pointless to spin out this fantasy any further: the result would be unimaginable, indeed absurd. If we wish to represent a historical sequence in spatial terms, we can do so only by juxtaposition in space, for the same space cannot accommodate two different things. Our attempt to do otherwise seems like an idle game; its sole justification is to show how far we are from being able to illustrate the peculiarities of mental life by visual means."

Space/Place, Culture and Time (Part 1): Michel De Certeau