Psychogeography – Early Investigations

1.   Psychogeography [PG]
Psychogeography was defined in 1955 by Guy Debord as “the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals.”[1] Another definition is “a whole toy box full of playful, inventive strategies for exploring cities…just about anything that takes pedestrians off their predictable paths and jolts them into a new awareness of the urban landscape.”[2]

Investigation 1 –

  • Concept: Visually represent the psychological geography and cognitive ‘illustrative’ map of a particular person and/or their life.
  • Media: photography, type, graphics, animation, moving image and sound-scapes, [music?]
  • Output 1: An animated construction of images associated with their psychogeography, that will build up to construct the subject’s face, once complete the subject’s face will appear from the amalgamation if these images.

Within this graphic will be 1 or more embedded short films [30 secs -2mins], the graphic will zoom into this film. The film will portray another aspect of the subject’s life and /or take the viewer to another subjects animated construction, or may take the viewer to another psychogeographical scenario altogether.

  • Output 2: Themes and concept as above but using /additional X-ray style graphics – Or compositing their ancestors/children on? – Pictorial Russian doll concept? – face in a face in face etc.?

Types of images and themes

  • Geographical: their living environment [past, present and future] : images of interior and exterior elements: current home, hospitals, grave, holidays, town/city they live in, places they have been. Types of images governed by the background of the subject.
  • Material and personal objects: items that are part of their lives – furniture, trinkets, clothing, entertainment, food etc.
  • Psychological: their cognitive, conscious and unconscious mind: images of loved ones, memories, fears, foes, opinions, fantasies, family, tragedies, life changes, self-image etc.

Investigation 2.

  • Concept: Visually represent the psychogeography of a specific building or location [street, factory, church, school, hospital, derelict institution?]
  • Output 1: Similar to above format and purpose, but will explore the many uses, the people who have used it, occurrences, and experiences of the building or location.
  • Output 2: Still or/and moving image of building/interior/location/person with type inserted to represent a singular or multiple aspect of the PG – start with still image then it moves into video, encountering other people’s PG?, graphics and text, x-ray additions?
    Could be a street or block of flats etc… could focus in on a selected few inhabitants’ lives and PGs
  • Output 3: Re-historicize or re-claim a location/building… additions of other potential uses, juxtapositions of what is there now and what could have been, or was there etc

Ref to undergraduate work:

2nd year installation and performance work:

Oxstalls, Longlevens, Glos: derelict school – reclaimed for a performance about government research lab working on human/machine interfacing. We re-dressed and reassigned uses and histories for corridors, rooms, items, furniture in it and give it a new use – adding to its PG and being effected by its previous PG.



  • Output 4: Themes and concept as above but using only or adding X-ray style graphics – see through the building or person? Emotions, spirits left behind in the building/locations and/or previous buildings on that site?
Ref: Audi advert for style




 Investigation 3 –
  • Maps: explore visual relationship between brain wave patterns [medical graphs, electronic monitoring etc], the physical appearance of the brain, and the potential similarities to maps [historical/tube/road etc]
  • Media: graphical/moving image representations that could combine, play with and alter these elements – either pick a specific subject or have a more general theme of ‘Psycho’ and ‘Geography’


Psychogeography Investigation Uses?.

  • An alternative way of demonstrating the life and times of well-known building or disused institution – alternative communication and maintaining of history.
  • An alternative guide or map of a town or location [glos docks for example] – touch a part of the interactive screen or website, and a graphical animation/moving image history is viewed?
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~ by mrtbrown on September 21, 2011.

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