On psychogeography, or going for a walk

Still reading the excellent Restless Cities, and this essay on Imaging by Patrick Keiller stood out in particular for the following passage. Keiller is discussing structural shifts following David Harvey which leads him to this critique on the nature of the still blossoming-in-popularity idea of psychogeography (something which I guess Keiller is in part responsible for as well)…

If such moments of historical transition, however questionable their identification, open possibilities for creativity, for those moments to which, in Lefebvre’s words, people have been looked to transform existence (190 was, among other things, the year in which Apollinaire invented the art of going for a walk), it seems strange that Surrealist and Situationist techniques - flânerie, the dérive and psychogeography - should have become the subject of so much attention, even if they were not quite ‘revived’, in London during the 1990s. At the time, I suggested that their purpose had been overlooked: psychogeography and the dérive were conceived, in a more politically ambitious period, as preliminaries to the production of the new, revolutionary spaces; in the 1990s they seemed more likely to be preliminary to the production of literature and other works, and to gentrification, the discovering of previously overlooked value in dilapidated spaces and neighbourhoods.

My emphasis. Quoted from Restless Cities, edited by Matthew Beaumont and Gregory Dart (2010) in the essay by Patrick Keiller on ‘Imaging’, p152.

  1. anthropologicalurbanism posted this