Pyscho-geography Evolution

Although still remaining close to the original Situationists thought, which is to remain alert and aware in the increased banalisation of our urban environment, and to be aware to a means for a political response to that perceived failure of urban governance, the Situationists cannot be credited for the mainstream acceptance that pysco-geography now holds today.

As the situationists were drawing to a close, JG Ballard wrote a series of experimental and controversial texts depicting the urban hinterlands of motorways and retail parks that encircle our modern cities. The loss of emotional engagement with our new surroundings and the bizarre forms of behavior our new technological landscapes can provoke.

Alongside Ballard is Iain Sinclair, who was keen to expose the obscure places that lie at the margins, all the while paying no allegiance to the Situationists theory, instead focusing on the theory of ley lines proposed by Alfred Watkins, and reviving occult concerns of earlier london visionaries such as Robert Louis Stevenson and Arthur Machen.

The occult symbolism and sense of tradition apposed by Sinclair is echoed by Peter Ackroyd, who`s vision for the city owes less to the rigorous approach of The Situationists then it does to a conservative sense of national identity and a belief in the enduring power of the city.

If pysco-geography has slipped away from the thoughts of Debord in Ackroyds writings, then the writings of Stewart Home goes some way to re-affiriming its theoretical authenticity and spirit of political radicalism.

The circle is finally completed by Patrick Keller, who in his films, London and Robinson in Space, provides a pysco-geographical meditation on London and the country as a whole, combining a political response to Thatcherism with an inquiry into the literary history of the city and a final word on the fate of The Flaneur.

 

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