As background reading for a conference paper I'm working on, I've been reading about Psychogeography and other approaches to exploring and thinking about urban space.
In his engaging (2010) study of the subject, Merlin Coverley presents Psychogeography as being interested in the places where Psychologogy meets Geography. Although 'nebulous and resistant to definition’, Coverley proposes that the different approaches to Psychogeography traverse some areas of common ground, most notably the pursuit of urban walking. This is often accompanied by what Robert MacFarlane (2005) describes as a calling to ‘Record the experience as you go, in whatever medium you favour: film, photograph, manuscript, tape'. How we approach ‘urban’ is also open to interpretation amongst Psychogeographers, shown each weekend in the routes followed along Fife coastal paths, and beyond the periphery of the London Orbital. Just as the city’s boundary is breached by lines of transport and communication, the parameters of what constitutes urban walking becomes blurred.
And so a late-December walk through the growing darkness of the west Cumbrian countryside provided an opportunity to document the communications towers and power cables that we encountered on our winding path through the hinterland. The high tension lines pictured ibelow talk to us about the relationship between city and country, at the threshold between Psychology and Geography.
It was only at the end of my walk that I became aware of plans to replace the pictured pylons with towers twice the size. At the same time I learned about a resistance campaign amongst residents along the planned route. High tension at the point where Psychology meets Geography.
Coverly, M. (2010) Psychogeography. Pocket Essentials, Harpenden.
MacFarlane, R. (2005 ) 'A Road of One's Own'. Times Literary Supplement, October 7.
I am an ESRC-funded Doctoral student in the Centre for Research in Digital Education at The University of Edinburgh.