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Dériving through the Blogosphere Stephanie Talbot.

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1 Dériving through the Blogosphere Stephanie Talbot

2 Seminar a discovery-based and practice-based session: Introduction Film in three parts Assignment 1: Process (break) Assignment 2: Execution Discussion and Deduction

3 To dérive translates literally as to drift The concept of the dérive is a discovery-based activity, it entails navigating urban environments, often overlooking familiar or predictable routes as a means to explore a city and access novel encounters with its fabric. Performing a dérive involves relinquishing preconceived notions of expectation alongside playful-constructive behaviour in which to engage with happenstance and the opportunity for authentic and new experiences.

4 The dérives origins were established in the Letterist International movement of the 1940s, an artistic and politically motivated collective based in Paris, and was developed the following decade by the radical group of avant-garde artists and political theorists the Situationist International. Based mainly in Europe, the Situationsits ideas had their roots in Marxist ideology; their practices pivoted around socio-political agendas and anti-capitalist themes - the Situationist Internationals figurehead Guy Debord was a detractor of advancing capitalism and encouraged alternative means in which to construct society.

5 Debord cited the dérive as a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiences - Debord and his collaborators created and experimented with self-administered rules; setting up situations and agendas (i.e. unplanned, uninterrupted journeys, employing nonconformist routes) in which to subvert predictable and monotonous routines of everyday life as experienced by workers mired by capitalist values.

6 For the Situationists, the dérive was the primary technique in which to discover an urban settings psychogeography. In 1955 Guy Debord defined psychogeography as "the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behaviour of individuals

7 The fluctuating atmospheres and varying contours of the terrain,as effected by the built and natural environment, shapes the individuals, awareness and sensitivity towards their surroundings (i.e. a street stretched over several hundred metres may shift in ambience drastically at any given moment). Ergo, psychogeography is directed exclusively by the feelings evoked in the individual by their surroundings - the Situationists used the dérive as a tool to privilege the individuals emotional experiences whilst traversing urban landscapes. This would propel discourse and result in ideas on how to rewrite the citys topography, its configuration and value…The Situationists would deconstruct and reassemble maps in accordance to the outcomes of their derive and also to investigate various urban elements; their relationships and correlations as a means to review urbanism. Their focus was on content - the aesthetic value of their maps emerged as a result of the content.


9 Todays Assignments: Apply the Situationists tactic of dériving to blog environments + map your trajectories Objective is to explore the web with a fresh perspective - focus on content, chance encounters and play… identify themes and then analyse and rationalise Rigour!

10 Assignment 1 The first task involves performing your own dérive through the blogosphere. To launch your dérive: at top of Googles bar go to Blogs and insert two keywords of your choosing in the search bar these two words may be as harmonious or as disparate as you please. On the first results page pick a site, commit to it, click it, peruse it and enjoy the richness of dériving…search for other links, follow new trajectories, explore the unexpected and mentally archive your impressions and insights. The content in your history (at the top of your browser) is evidence of your dérive… so based on that…

11 Assignment 2 The second task involves creating a mapping of your dérive on your existing blog - this can be executed as a page or a series of pages that befit your own objectives. The mapping can be executed as a narrative, single words, descriptions, stream of consciousness, graphics, diagrams or visuals (employ whatever combination that suits you). Make clear the sequence of your dérive - include hyperlinks. Map every stage of your dérive, however inconsequential. Should you reach a cul-de-sac, retrace your steps or alternatively return to the initial web results of your two keywords and see where that takes you… Lastly, give your dérive a title and include a paragraph about your objectives, the process and a conclusion. Provide an argument for how you constructed and negotiated your dérive.

12 Assignment 1: allocate half an hour to perform your dérive Assignment 2: allocate an hour to map your dérive The final half hour: the opportunity to share your deriving experiences

13 For both tasks - be productive, receptive, imaginative, inventive, fearless (but nothing x-rated or incriminating please!)… make it personal, customize it, really engage with your dérive! Set up your own agenda and hierarchy, construct your own rules ie. I will always follow the first link I identify, I will engage with the first link that contains the word love… Work with the results that first surface: be consistent with your rules and committed to the results.

14 Approach the dérive as: a collection of crossroads, junctures, networks, lateral turns, routes, passages, trajectories, decisions, relationships, correlations… Appropriate, personalize and customize those encounters and crossroads. Situationists promised that their architecture would one day revolutionise everyday life and release the ordinary citizen into a world of experiment, anarchy and play. Simon Sadler, The Situationist City

15 Recommended Reading: Debord, G. (1967) The Society of the Spectacle, Zone Books Merryfield, M. Guy Debord (Critical Lives Series) (2005), Reaktion Books Sadler, S. The Situationist City (1999), The MIT Press Wigley, M. Constant's New Babylon: The Hyper-architecture of Desire (1998), 010 Publishers: Rotterdam

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