A series of walks I took around Klybeck

Explore each individual walk:
︎25.03  ︎31.03  ︎07.04  ︎18.04  ︎07.05  ︎14.05  ︎23.05  ︎16.06

I began a series of walks through Klybeck. The first walks were taken when it was still too cold to have my phone out of my pocket for long, and I moved swiftly, trying to stay warm. The later walks were slow and languishing as I enjoyed the sun and the atmosphere of people out in the streets, escaping the heat of their homes. Sometimes the walks were planned, as in when I had a dog with me and decided to restrict stopping to only when the dog stopped. Other walks were spontaneous, as in finding myself unexpectedly in the research area after a Sunday brunch. Altogether, from March until May, I documented eight walks, all of various lengths and times and varying concentrations of images and narration.
    A constant basis for the walks starting on 31.03, was that I would follow the esprit of the dérive, which as practiced by the Situationists, implied an awareness of the purpose of the walk while remaining open to the possibilities of chance and spontaneity, as Ana Moya Pelleterio described the derive inThe Image of the Urban Landscape: "It was not only a journey or a stroll done by chance or spontaneity. It also tried to escape from the risk of being a movement done by habit. Instead, it was motivated by the awareness of the urban atmospheres. Through the derive as a daily life activity, one could develop a critical awareness of the changing environments, the ludic potential of urban spaces and their capacity to generate new desires and emotions.”[1]
    In this method, I would start each walk with only a starting point and no itinerary, the only restriction being that I stay in the research area. As I began the walk, I tried to free my mind from preconceived concepts, push back the experiences of the previous walks and see the space in a way that was in-the-moment and in an unplanned or contrived way.

“The success of the derive was in the abandonment of the self without reserve, to such an extent that the self experienced the city in a similar way as a researcher looking at a foreign culture."[2]

    Deciding to conduct my walks in this free-form manner dictated some of the decisions about how the walks were documented. Knowing that I wanted to be free to capture images or thoughts as they came to me without restrictions, I decided that I would use only my iPhone for both images and video. This decision allowed me an unlimited amount of space to record my impressions and ease in capturing at any moment. Using this one consistent method also freed me from the eventual consideration of how different capture methods might change my visual experience of the space.
    In choosing the iPhone, I was also aware of the danger of seeing the space through the iPhone screen while perhaps not actually seeing the image in the real space, allowing the photography to become a mechanical process instead of a reflected action. To alleviate this, I tried to keep a focused awareness of images I was gathering, and when possible, I avoided looking at the images on the screen as I photographed them. Although, being able to review the images on the screen at times allowed me to compare what I thought I saw to what was captured and, in some instances, retake the photo if I felt it was not the reality I was experiencing.
    There were other benefits to using the iPhone in my research. The quickness and ease of capturing what was around me allowed for spontaneity and perhaps better mirrored the true nature of the walks as I experienced them. Not having to stop and set up equipment or wait for the right light or worry about how many images I could take were important factors in capturing the essence of the movement and pace of the urban space. I also could easily switch between static images and video or audio recordings, which allowed for capturing the sensations that I was most aware of at any given time. Finally, the unobtrusive size and commonness of the phone allowed me to move unremarked through the space and linger in front of the more compelling details I discovered. As John Ruskin wrote more than a century before me; "My entire delight was in observing without being myself noticed, - if I could have been invisible, all the better." [3]
    My walks generated other material alongside instant images and video from the iPhone. As I walked, I also created narrations. Sometimes I would record my voice as I spoke about what I was seeing. Other times I would stop and write in the middle of the walk but more often I would write a short narration on the tram back. These narrations became helpful in remembering some of the less visible sensations of my walk, such as weather and mood.
    Along the way, I also gathered found material such as wrappers, papers, ad-advertisements and books left on the street. These were added to the visual documentation of the walk and provided little glimpses into the everyday lives of the inhabitants.
    Finally, in some of the early walks, I used drawing as a documentation method, but this became less common in the later walks as I became convinced that the sketches added a layer over the experience that distorted the perception of it. This was, of course, my subjective opinion and I continued occasionally drawing, but in the later phases of the research, the drawings are all done from the photographs. I also continued to sketch as I walked, but the sketches from the later walks were more likely to be outlines of my path through the space and less representational of what I was seeing.

[You can learn more about walking as a creative method in the Other Stuff section].

“Psychogeography: a beginner’s guide.
Unfold a street map of London, place a glass, rim down, anywhere on the
map, and draw round its edge. Pick up the map, go out into the city,
and walk the circle, keeping as close as you can to the curve.
Record the experience as you go, in whatever medium you favour: film, photograph, manuscript, tape. Catch the textual run-off of the streets;
the graffiti, the branded litter, the snatches of conversation. Cut for sign. Log the data-stream. Be alert to the happenstance of metaphors, watch for
visual rhymes, coincidences, analogies, family resemblances,
the changing moods of the street. Complete the circle, and the record ends.
Walking makes for content; footage for footage.”
–­Robert Macfarlane 4

Explore each individual walk:
︎25.03  ︎31.03  ︎07.04  ︎18.04  ︎07.05  ︎14.05  ︎23.05  ︎16.06

[1] (Moya Pellitero, A.M., 2007) p.190 [2] Moya Pellitero, A.M., 2007 p.191: Here referencing Thomas MCDonough, “The Dérive and Situationist Paris” in Situationists: Art, Politics, Urbanism. Ed. By L. Adreoti, X. costa (Barcelona: ACTAR, 1966)p.61 [3] Scheppe, 2010 p. 29, Quoting John Ruskin, Praeterita, col. I, 1885-1889 (Ruskin, n.d.)
[4] (Macfarlane, 2005)