New book is a guide to psychogeography, or shamanically finding meaning in urban landscapes
Authors Phil Smith and Simon Persighetti (who go by “Crab Man” and “Signpost”) have offered us a new way to engage our cities (or villages, or even pig trails) in A Sardine Street Box of Tricks—this is a “mis-guided” book about how and why to funk up tours; it’s about how to be a tour guide-cum-magician by digging deep into local symbolism and history and remixing it with performance, illusion and absurdity—a discipline known to its adherents as psychogeography.
From the publisher:
The book is designed to help anyone who makes, or would like to make, walk-performances or variations on the guided tour. It describes a range of different approaches and tactics, and illustrates them with examples from their tour of Queen Street. For example:
• Wear something that sets you apart and gives others permission to approach you: “Excuse me, what are you supposed to be?”
• Take a can of abject booze from the street or a momentary juxtaposition of a dove and a plastic bag and mould them, through an action, into an idea
• Attend to the smallest things
• Examine the cracks in your street and the mould on its walls, note its graffiti, collect its detritus, observe how its pavements are used and abused
• Set yourself tasks that passers-by will be intrigued by: they will enjoy interrupting and even joining in with you
• Draw upon ambiguous, ironical or hollowed-out rituals to complement the multiplicity of your walk with intensity of feeling or depth of engagement
Though explicitly meant for those giving “guided tours,” the tips are applicable generally for enriching any walk, whether alone or with others. And by extension, why not apply the ability to find constellations in the pattern of chewing gum stains to all areas of your life?
These guys are asking us to educate ourselves in something like controlled apophenia, and it has roots in both sacred geometry and Situationism. We are being invited to make travel strange, and make your daily slog to work a journey into The Weird. And what role will our phones, augmented reality, and Google Glass play in our rediscovery of urban myth?
Amazon: A Sardine Street Box of Tricks
(Below, Professor Alex Danchev succinctly explains Situationism and psychogeography.)