Guy Debord’s “Naked City”, map of Paris

Psychogeography is the exploration of urban environments that emphasizes interpersonal connections to places and arbitrary routes. It was developed by members of the Letterist International and Situationist International, which were revolutionary groups influenced by Marxist and anarchist theory as well as the attitudes and methods of Dadaists and Surrealists. 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 behavior of individuals.’ One of the key tactics for exploring psychogeography is the loosely defined urban walking practice known as the dérive. As a practice and theory, psychogeography has influenced a broad set of cultural actors, including artists, activists and academics. … The Lettrists’ reimagining of the city has its precursors in aspects of Dadaism and Surrealism. The concept of the flâneur, first created by Charles Baudelaire, and further developed by Walter Benjamin, is also cited as an influence on the development of psychogeography. Ivan Chtcheglov, in his highly influential 1953 essay ‘Formulaire pour un urbanisme nouveau’ (‘Formulary for a New Urbanism’), established many of the concepts that would inform the development of psychogeography. Forwarding a theory of unitary urbanism, Chtcheglov wrote ‘Architecture is the simplest means of articulating time and space, of modulating reality, of engendering dreams’. … The Situationists’ response was to create designs of new urbanized space, promising better opportunities for experimenting through mundane expression. Their intentions remained completely as abstractions. Guy Debord’s truest intention was to unify two different factors of ‘ambiance’ that, he felt, determined the values of the urban landscape: the soft ambiance — light, sound, time, the association of ideas — with the hard, the actual physical constructions. …”
MIT – Psychogeography: A Purposeful Drift Through the City

Mémoires – Asger Jorn, Guy Debord (1959)

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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