Psychogeography
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Psychogeography
Walking & Wandering through Cities, Edgelands, Unplaces, Liminal Zones and Imaginary Worlds
Curated by Gareth Rees
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A rampant gestation of weird histories and myths in East London's Marshland

A rampant gestation of weird histories and myths in East London's Marshland | Psychogeography | Scoop.it

Let’s face it, East London (and particularly Hackney) has been overmapped. It has been pulled apart, placed under the microscope and jammed back together. It seems there is little space for a writer who wishes to write about it. This makes Marshland a very pleasant surprise indeed.

 

Rather than focussing on the urban sprawl, Rees’ shifts attention to ‘the edge of London’: the wild greenbands of Hackney, Walthamstow and Leyton Marshes which has, relative to the rest of London, remained remarkably untouched… until, that is, the Olympics was announced.

 

The marshes are perfect ground for the rampant gestation of weird little histories and myths, a world were outsiders can roam free from the glare of authorities. Escaping the pressures of family life, Rees takes his dog Hendrix on daily walks around the marshes, and its these walks the book is framed around. His anecdotal experiences are strange enough. He stumbles across sex games, pilled up ravers on their low ebb, and a whole host of odd interactions with others seeking refuge in the city’s wilderness. 

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from occupy london to the suburbs, a journey with laura oldfield ford

from occupy london to the suburbs, a journey with laura oldfield ford | Psychogeography | Scoop.it
Surbiton station isn’t the first place you’d expect to meet Laura Oldfield Ford. It is almost a decade since her zine Savage Messiah began garnering attention among the east London art crowd. Her post-subcultural blend of prose, drawings and collages seemed to flicker like pointed lights in the dusk of a city. There was a clear enemy: the “yuppies” moving into a Hackney once known for cheap rents and alternative culture but was becoming an area at the mercy of offshore landlords.
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Particulations: The New Psychogeography

Particulations: The New Psychogeography | Psychogeography | Scoop.it
At the beginning of October I was kindly invited by Dr. Rowan Bailey to give a lecture to the Art, Design and Architecture MA students at the University of Huddersfield. My spec involved incorporating psychogeography into theoretical approaches to the postmodern city and, in particular, my own research in this area. So I got to thinking more about a section in the upcoming edited volume that I’m working on – Walking Inside Out: Contemporary British Psychogeography – that I had entitled ‘The New Psychogeography’ and decided to include that in the title of the lecture: ‘Postmodern Urbanism and the New Psychogeography’ (if you want to see the lecture slides properly, it is better to download them than scroll through due to the animation).
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Walking London, One Postcode at a Time

Walking London, One Postcode at a Time | Psychogeography | Scoop.it
Inspired by “the Ladies who Bus” who are travelling London one bus route at a time, and building on the work I have done to become a walking tour guide, this blog is about walking London one postcode at a time. There are over 100 London postcode districts so that should keep me busy!

I decided to start in the SW postcodes because I realised that most of my working life has been in jobs based in SW1 and for all my adult life I have lived in SW postcodes. So I will walk first in the SW postcodes going in numerical order and work round London clockwise until I get to SE. Then I will go into the central ones of EC and WC. Who knows maybe after all that I will be strong enough to go through the outer postcodes like CR and RM. As you can see from the map, there is still quite a bit of Greater London which is outside the London post code area.

So a few grounds rules. I will aim to do a walk in each post  code area which features around ten places, buildings or stories of that area. As this is a postcode walk I will start at a post office, usually the main one. I reserve the right to hop on a bus or train if this makes for a better outcome. And for those few mainly central London postcodes which have sub divisions (eg SW1A, SW1Y etc) I am only covering this once (eg as SW1) in the part of my choosing!
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Photo essay: The tunnel

Photo essay: The tunnel | Psychogeography | Scoop.it
About Latest Posts Margherita RaggMargherita Ragg is a freelance writer and teacher based in Milan, Italy. She is the creator of The Crowded Planet, a travel blog focusing on a ... More
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David Southwell on Twitter: "An alternative definition of #psychogeography. http://t.co/rRcNatIc51"

David Southwell on Twitter: "An alternative definition of #psychogeography. http://t.co/rRcNatIc51" | Psychogeography | Scoop.it
An alternative definition of #psychogeography. http://t.co/rRcNatIc51
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A Post-Crash Scenario at Morrisons Car Park

A Post-Crash Scenario at Morrisons Car Park | Psychogeography | Scoop.it

Morrisons is at the bottom of my road, via an arched pedestrian underpass. It’s my quickest route into town by foot...

 

It feels strange to walk through a car park without having a car or any intention of going into the supermarket, as I am doing now at 7pm on a Tuesday…

 

The last remaining cars glisten in the first glow of artificial light. The lampposts are topped with long needles, to deter or impale herring gulls. The white road markings are faded, more suggestion than law. The ‘mother and child parking’ avatars have exploded heads.

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Found Things: The Biographies of Objects

Found Things: The Biographies of Objects | Psychogeography | Scoop.it

Many of us collect things, picking up objects on a walk and taking them home. Why do we have a compulsion to do this?

 

For a while I’ve had a fascination with walking: why we walk, where we walk, how we walk. Something to do with how we relate to our environments. Picking up things is a part of this – which things do we notice, which things do we choose to pick up and take home?

A collection of objects found in your bag at the end of the walk say something about that walk, that place, that time, that experience. Each walk’s collection is unique and peculiar.

 

In contemporary art practice, and when I’m working in a gallery, we think a lot about objects. We employ deconstruction (developed by Jacques Derrida[i]), a postmodern way of thinking; reading objects (and art objects) as if they were texts, picking apart their meaning and how those meanings are constructed, how we interpret them according to their context and, indeed, our own contexts (what we bring to an interpretation from our own backgrounds). We think about “found things”, or objet trouvé – like when Marcel Duchamp put a bottle rack on a plinth[ii].

 

If we take an object and put it in a gallery, does this new context, and thus the way we now perceive it, make it art? And if we have taken, say, a dropped feather from a field on a walk and taken it home, and changed its context, have we changed its meaning?

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Memorialisation in the Landscape: Expect scuffles

Memorialisation in the Landscape: Expect scuffles | Psychogeography | Scoop.it

The short but clever blog post from Gareth E Rees raises some interesting questions about public landscape and memory, using the insights of memorials. I won’t spoil the impact by citing the neat ending, much as I’d like to share it, but the notion of memory is an important one. “Jodie” and “Duncan” – or Mrs A, Mr B, Chris and Deb, Ena, whoever – being remembered brings with it a certain appropriation, Gareth maintains. He may be right: I sit on a bench in this park and know that the view was appreciated by someone else...

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Sanctuary Wood

Sanctuary Wood | Psychogeography | Scoop.it
Sanctuary Wood is the popular name for an uncultivated corner of land nestling in the rolling green Flemish countryside to the south-east of Ypres.  Marked as Hill 62 on Great War British military maps, the name Sanctuary Wood was first used, apparently with no sense of irony, by the British forces defending this section of the Ypres Salient during the first Battle of Ypres in 1914 when they used the flimsy cover of the wood to shelter their wounded and dying men.
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The Portrait Bench

The Portrait Bench | Psychogeography | Scoop.it

In the distance stand the black outlines of three figures, light and foliage filling the gaps where their bodies should be...

 

I approach the two dimensional figures. A woman in Roman dress. What can only be an oyster fisherman with his pots. A WW2 pilot. I find out later the pilot is Warner (‘Bill’) Ottley, who flew on the Dams Raid and was shot down near Hamm. Bill Ottley’s family lived in Herne Bay, as does my father. One of the Dambusters. A national hero.

 

I took a filtered photograph of the bench out of duty more than anything. I sit briefly on the damp wooden frame. My mother stands near the cliff’s edge and looks out toward the horizon.

 

Things could change, but we were still trapped by the past.

 

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Ian Boonham: Forbidden Cities

Ian Boonham: Forbidden Cities | Psychogeography | Scoop.it

These images focus on the idea of urban chaos and create a series of unique fantasy landscapes. Inspiration has been drawn from a wide range of places including optical illusions, platform games and crazy golf courses.

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Seaside Surrealism

Seaside Surrealism | Psychogeography | Scoop.it

Towards the end of a cycling holiday in Dorset and Somerset some years ago, our small group spent the last night at Castle Corfe, arriving in heavy rain. The morning after was perfect sunshine and the castle itself appeared like something from a fairy tale. Further visual derangement was to come. Piling the bikes in the guard’s van of the early morning steam train to the nearby seaside resort of Swanage, we discovered the carriages teeming with vintage train enthusiasts celebrating a local railway anniversary, as well as crowds of Morris Men, many blacked-up and covered in ribbons and bells, attending an international folk dance festival. The whole morning was like an extended scene from a 1950s film by Powell & Pressburger.

 

At the time none of us appreciated that Swanage and the Purbeck peninsula was the home ground of English surrealism...... 

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High Rise: a Homage to North East England Brutalism

High Rise: a Homage to North East England Brutalism | Psychogeography | Scoop.it

Derwent Tower (also known as The Dunston Rocket) will be remembered as both a concrete eyesore and a landmark Brutalist structure.

 

Caisson’s High Rise presents itself as a 45-minute monolithic drone, a low-end void exploration, a homage to Northern East England Brutalism.

 

This soundscape encapsulates the sound of decay and destruction within this field. Field recordings taken during and after the demolition of The Dunston Rocket have been edited, layered and manipulated using a multitude of digital and analog methods creating a soundscape which encapsulates the sound of decline and destruction.

 

The decaying textures and industrial dirge aim to both represent and remember this landmark piece of architecture.

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A Sussex Atlantis

A Sussex Atlantis | Psychogeography | Scoop.it

The train stops at a level crossing in an East Sussex field. As the train pulls away I’m left on a tiny platform beside a sign which reads:

Winchelsea

Ancient Town, Cinque Port

Winchelsea town is ½ mile south east of the station

 

A country road winds south east through freshly cropped fields, criss-crossed with telegraph poles and littered with crows. There’s no sign of a town, only a leafy hill rising in the distance. This must be the ‘new’ Winchelsea, built out of harm’s way in 1288 at the orders of Edward I.

 

The original town lies beneath the sea, beyond Camber Sands. Its death began with a climate shift in 1233. Storms battered the coastline. Heavy rains and high tides brought floods. Then in 1250, there was a great storm, described by the chronicler Holinshed:

 

“On the first day of October the moon, upon her change, appearing exceeding red and swelled, began to show tokens of the great tempest of wind that followed, which was so huge and mightie, both by land and sea, that the like had not been lightlie knowne, and seldome, or rather never heard of by men then alive.”

 

During this storm the sea tide did not ebb, rather it surged through the town with biblical ferocity, destroying bridges, mills, houses and churches. The shingle bank on which Winchelsea was built began to break up. By 1258, the sea was surging further inland, sweeping away large parts of the town. And by 1287 the whole place was under water.

For a few years, the displaced townsfolk could see ruins of their home at low tide.

 

Then it vanished forever, a Sussex Atlantis....

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Rye’s Valhalla | The Learned Pig

Rye’s Valhalla | The Learned Pig | Psychogeography | Scoop.it

Influx Press’s editor-at-large, Gary Budden, and author of Marshland, Gareth E. Rees, venture into Rye Harbour with inadequate footwear and a 1904 guide to Sussex.

 

They discover more than they’d bargained for…

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The weird afterlife of the world's subterranean 'ghost stations'

The weird afterlife of the world's subterranean 'ghost stations' | Psychogeography | Scoop.it

With plans afoot to transform London’s disused tube stations into tourist attractions, Drew Reed digs into how underground stations get abandoned in the first place … and what could become of them in the future...


Via Kaeleigh Herstad
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Christchurch—Greenland

Christchurch—Greenland | Psychogeography | Scoop.it

April Krause is a psychogeographer, researcher and maker of art and visual culture and a designer. Her experiences and interests are wide-ranging and include professional experience as an architect and graphic designer, and studies in architecture, fine arts and cultural geography. Her focus is concerned with how humans inhabit spaces, particularly within the current anthropocentric conditions and impact of climatic and environmental shifts

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The United Kingdom of the Remembered Dead

The United Kingdom of the Remembered Dead | Psychogeography | Scoop.it

Walking the ancient Brede High Woods, in the High Weald of Sussex, I came across some memorial benches…

 

Nothing unusual in this. Their proliferation is what writers Ken Worpole & Jason Orton describe as a “return to older practices of informal memorialisation”, adding that “a re-inscription of the landscape, a new counter-reformation, is underway’ [The New English Landscape, 2013]

Most benches memorialise a viewpoint where someone might have sat and looked out over a landscape feature.

 

For instance, “In memory of Sarah Richards, 1951-2012, who came here often” inscribed on a bench overlooking a harbour, indicates that once Sarah sat and looked out at this vista.

 

The suggestion is that the passer-by who sits on this bench somehow invigorates the memory of the deceased. It’s not as much the wooden bench that represents the memory, but theviewpoint of the living sitter, looking outward.

 

The surviving loved ones who commission the bench can console themselves with the idea that strangers will share Sarah’s view, even if they’re not conscious of the inscription…. even if… in reality… that person gets out a marker pen and scrawls SHAZZER 4 SPACEBASTARD onto the wood.

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ONE MAN AND HIS DOG ON THE EDGELANDS

ONE MAN AND HIS DOG ON THE EDGELANDS | Psychogeography | Scoop.it

"I assumed I lived in a totalitarian city. London’s green spaces were prescribed by municipal entities, landscaped by committees, furnished with bollards and swings. There was no wilderness. There was no escape. You couldn’t simply decide to wander off plan. Or so I thought."


In Marshland psychogeographer Gareth Rees documents a process of deep mapping: a methodology towards engaging the subject’s intellectual, emotional and aesthetic relationships with the built environment and understanding how they evolve in the light of interior experience affected by exterior change.

 

These relationships form a complex perspective, one founded on personal and public history interweaving and changing each other, on the desire to take on the constructed environment and re-imagine it politically rather than passively be guided, taught, shunted hither-and-thither and organised into a state of manufactured consent....

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The Tower

The Tower | Psychogeography | Scoop.it

The Tower in this short story is Perrott’s Folly which is located in Edgbaston Birmingham. Also known as The Monument or The Observatory, the tower is 29 metres tall and was built by John Perrott in 1758. Now sitting rather incongruously in a 1960s residential housing estate, the folly, along with the nearby Edgbaston Waterworks Tower are believed to have been the inspiration for the two towers from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Tolkien lived close-by as a child and walked past the two towers each day on his way to school.

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The Transhistorical Folk Landscapes of Lutine

The Transhistorical Folk Landscapes of Lutine | Psychogeography | Scoop.it

The debut album by Lutine emerges, shimmering, through a rift in time: a grieving widow who wanders the English countryside in a cruel sunshine haze.

 

In these songs of regret and melancholy, human fate is intertwined with the landscape.

 

In ‘Sallow Tree’, Morton sings with precision tremolo, “Silent sorrow all around / tears are falling / ancient worlds bring me down and out of reach / underneath the sallow tree / I offer you my sympathy”.

The sallow tree is another term for a willow tree. These are common symbols of sadness and mourning. In Hamlet, Ophelia drowns near a willow. And in Charlotte Smith’s ‘Sonnet 42: Composed during a walk on the Downs, in November 1787′…

 

 The dark and pillowy cloud,the sallow trees,

Seem o’er the ruins of the year to mourn:

And cold and hollow, the inconstant breeze,

Sobs through the falling leaves and wither’d fern

 

In Lutine’s lyrics, the landscape often reflects human hope and despair – the technique of pathetic fallacy which Thomas Hardy was fond of using. But they also sing of a natural world which is disinterested in human emotion. Cycles of summer and winter, light and dark, warmth and cold, death and birth. These continue, regardless of our personal grief....

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The Village that Died for England

The Village that Died for England | Psychogeography | Scoop.it

Tyneham is modern England’s archetypal ‘lost village’: a Dorset hamlet in a beautiful coastal valley evacuated to make a training area for allied tanks during the Second World War, and never returned to its  inhabitants despite Churchill’s pledge of restitution. It has lurked in the national imagination ever since: the symbol of a vanished England.

The Village that Died for England is the second of my two English road books. It tells the story of the historical landscape around the minor road that comes up from the popular resort of Lulworth Cove, and passes close to Lulworth Castle before crossing a stretch of heath to climb the chalk ridge of the Purbeck Hills and then descending into the secretive and now militarized Tyneham valley beyond....

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