Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Psychogeography Reflection

Our assignment over Fall Break was to read the Wikipedia page on Psychogeography and respond to it. I'll tell the truth; I read it, and didn't understand it. After doing some additional research, however, I think I'm beginning to understand more.

Pyschogeography is an approach to geography that is very different than the one most humans naturally take. The idea is from a man named Guy Debord and was first heard of in 1955.

When most people think about geography and maps, they think of the distance between point A and point B. They venture out into the city with a mission to start in one place and end up another specific place. They usually take the most direct route to get there (even our actual GPS' are programmed to give us the quickest, most direct routes) and getting lost is frowned upon.

However, Debord looked at it in a different way. His idea was to create a map with arrows leading behind fragments of the city. The arrows point in all sorts of directions, showing all the different possibilities that could occur depending which direction a traveler chooses. To Debord, it was not a bad thing to get lost; as a matter of fact, he looked at direction as if it were just a series of choices and invisible forces which compel from one location to the next.

One of my favorite things I read about this subject was an idea to take a cup and trace around its rim on a map, and then try to follow that circle as closely as possible in real life. You're going in a circle, so you are literally going nowhere. Yet what might you discover on the way that you never noticed before?

We are supposed to apply this idea to our second big website project. To tell the truth, I don't know how I'll do it. When I design websites I want them to be as clean and clearly laid out as possible. I don't want trails and pages that lead to a random place! But that is exactly why this project will be good for me; I will have to learn to design something that just leads with curiosity instead of always leading with information.