Psychogeography for Nov 26

Both articles talk about the definition of Psychogeography and what Derive means to the System. In short, Derive means to walk around in a site or any environment in an attitude which is not guided by aim but by awareness, emotions, and thoughts at the moment. The line in The Matrix talks about Derive that “there’s a difference between knowing the Path and walking the Path. Knowing the Path refers to the cognition of an aim, which is usually represented as finding the exact location in a limited amount of time; while walking the Path focuses on the experience that you sense on the road. The latter has always been neglected because of the fast speed this society has been pursuing: we can be productive on the premises of arriving at the right location at the right time. What’s more, our reliance on the navigation technologies, either paper maps or GPS, makes us focus more on the navigation itself and less connected to the physical environment when in an unfamiliar area. In The Double Negative article, it also points out how maps are political seizure of power and how they reduce “personal empowerment” because maps only show what cartographers want you to see, not to mention the geographic distortion one map could have.

However, on a flip side, Psychogeography has limitations and shortcomings. It’s hard to have a universal product of Psychogeography because of the subjectivity and privacy it carries. Think about a campus map marking “chaos and dangers” in the lodge area and “nerdy” at the Science building rather than their actual names. Does that make sense to everyone? Of course not, because the personal opinions that one carries cannot be generalized to other people. A less obvious but more problematic example would be the redlining map that my group showed during the previous classes. Granted, HOLC referred to very objective data like the annual income and the population of colored people, but the outcome was to make subjective comments as “absolutely declining” and “desirable” to direct others making a choice. This presentation of Psychogeography is not wrong but only reflecting certain thoughts and emotions; however, as a reference to public policy, it could be morally challenged.

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