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Psychogeographical mapping of coincidence in Leeds and Dortmund. Drifting through superimposed narratives of two cities at once.
||| Watch these spaces |||
This was the opening statement of the Superimposed
City Tours project. The initial intention was to begin the project with
the opening of the Monocular Times website, a date which kept getting
pushed back due to unforeseen factors. Organism turned its attention instead
to the Institute for the Preservation of Bad
In July 2002, funding was secured for the current project involving superimpositions of Leeds and Dortmund. The origins of the work as being based around Huddersfield, UK, have not been forgotten though and we intend to return to this aspect of the work at some time in the future.
The production of psychogeographic maps, or even the introduction of alterations such as more or less arbitrarily transposing maps of two different regions, can contribute to clarifying certain wanderings that express not subordination to randomness but complete insubordination to habitual influences.
Organism intends to perform such explorations. Its baseline is the banality of tourism, which shines a bright and friendly light of familiarity upon otherness. The exotic is recast as floorshow for Western delectation. The physical and mental environment is degraded by Capitalist exploitation and the detritus of consumer society. As each remote location is 'opened up' it is immediately co-opted into the whole. Access all areas with free air miles courtesy of supermarket saver schemes. Spend spend spend yr way to sophisticated travel locations so you can wow yr neighbours with tales of derring-do and native encounters. And how cheap a can of coke is over there. Oh, and it's ok, they've got a McDonalds and the hotel served English food.
So with tourism recast as new colonialism and agent of environmental damage, superimposition
and transposition become more imperative. Organism salutes The
Armchair Travel Company for touring the Taj Mahal online. Virtual
travel, a little QTVR India-in-a-box, all the familiar trappings of home
around it. World Heritage Site transposed to Acacia Gardens or wherever
you live. Banality and wonder overlaid with biting mundanity, threatening
to unfurl from the screen and slap yr plastic Simpsons models round the
Guy Debord (1955), 'Introduction
to a Critique of Urban Geography'
Organism will tour within reach of home and a hot cup of tea. Organism will begin its experimental overlays with superimpositions of its home town Huddersfield, in the north of England, with two northern cities, York and Leeds. Where overlaps appear interesting they will form nodes. These nodes may suggest points of intersection and antagonism, coincidence and difference. Nodes may be current psychogeographical observations, or they may be suggested by historical indicators.
What are we looking for?
Visual stimuli. Usage of space. Direction of traffic. Clientele. State of place/ affluent or run down or charity shops or a multi-storey car park. Similar personal recollections of superimposed spaces. Pedestrianised or not. Architecture. Perspective. Material (concrete, brick, wood, grass). Previous usage. Popularity. Night/day usage. Liked/disliked. Urban art. We are looking for fragmentation of the integrity of uniform spaces; for the suggestion of new interpretations; the instantiation of temporary autonomous zones.
What will we do?
Online extrapolations of findings and presentation of information about paths, nodes and routes. Explorations of Leeds and York superimposed over Huddersfield, by taking guided walks through Huddersfield. Tourism without travel and consumption. Banality bisected by distanced voyeurism that seeks to celebrate difference with a sense of wonder, and to instantiate coincidence rather than impose homogeneity.
There is no singular narrative, no superior index. Organism intends to intertwine the entrails of urban space and lay them out for geomantic scrutiny. Buildings are bones inscribed with encrypted meaning. Roads and footpaths are arteries. The earth and sky have their comments to make. Cast everything together. Compare and contrast. What do you divine? 'Nothing is true. Everything is permitted.' * Play as you go. Watch these spaces.
* Last words of Hassan-i Sabbah