Articulating Trans-Territorality. Geographical And Disciplinary Dispacements.
A Workshop With Herman Bashiron Mendolicchio
Theory of the Dérive
De´rive: a technique of rapid passage through varied urban spaces where chance plays a role partly because a methodology of psychogeographical observation is still in its infancy.
But the action of chance is naturally conservative and in a new setting tends to reduce everything to habit or to an alternation between a limited number of variants.
The average duration of a dérive is one day, considered as the time between two periods of sleep.
Storms or other types of precipitation are rather favorable for dérives.
If one sticks to the direct exploration of a particular terrain, one is concentrating primarily on research for a psychogeographical urbanism.
The maximum area of this spatial field does not extend beyond the entirety of a large city and its suburbs. At its minimum it can be limited to a small self- contained ambience: a single neighborhood or even a single block of houses if it’s interesting enough (the extreme case being a static-dérive of an entire day within the Saint-Lazare train station).
The subject is invited to come alone to a certain place at a specified time. He is freed from the bothersome obligations of the ordinary rendezvous since there is no one to wait for. But since this “possible rendezvous” has brought him without warning to a place he may or may not know, he observes the surroundings.
Somehow reminded of the times as a young child in Ohio when I broke into the model home next door to ours and wandered around, pulling open empty drawers and laying down in the uncomfortable bed, everything facade. Or later as a young adult in Los Angeles exploring underground by lifting manhole covers and climbing down the ladders or trying to get as high as possible in any building. Most emergency exit doors that lead to rooftops do not have alarms on them. How many hours spent on the rooftop of the Park Plaza Hotel where I lived for a time, climbing on to the tops of the female figures balancing large vessels on their heads at the very top. I perched up there on top of the vessel with absolutely no fear. I can’t understand that at all now.
1. dérive: literally “drift” or “drifting.” Like détournement, this term has usually been anglicized as both a noun and a verb.
2. “The dérive (with its flow of acts, its gestures, its strolls, its encounters) was to the totality exactly what psychoanalysis (in the best sense) is to language. Let yourself go with the flow of words, says the psychoanalyst. He listens, until the moment when he rejects or modifies (one could say detourns) a word, an expression or a definition. The dérive is certainly a technique, almost a therapeutic one. But just as analysis unaccompanied with anything else is almost always contraindicated, so continual dériving is dangerous to the extent that the individual, having gone too far (not without bases, but…) without defenses, is threatened with explosion, dissolution, dissociation, disintegration. And thence the relapse into what is termed ‘ordinary life,’ that is to say, in reality, into ‘petrified life.’ In this regard I now repudiate my Formulary’s propaganda for a continuous dérive. It could be continuous like the poker game in Las Vegas, but only for a certain period, limited to a weekend for some people, to a week as a good average; a month is really pushing it. In 1953-1954 we dérived for three or four months straight. That’s the extreme limit. It’s a miracle it didn’t kill us” (Ivan Chtcheglov, excerpt from a 1963 letter to Michèle Bernstein and Guy Debord, reprinted in Internationale Situationniste #9, p. 38).
If we don’t face the absurd, we will never move on.- H.B.M.
Reflection on the nature of work
Traveling/walking practices and the use of maps to engage with territories.
One of 1st walking art practices was a DADA organized series of excursions that have no reason to exist. April 14, 1921.
Guy Debord, The Naked City, 1957. Situationist practice of the drift.
Francis Alys- walking is chief tool in his creative process
Marina Abramovic and Ulay, The Lovers: The Great Wall Walk, 1988
Simon Faithfull, Going Nowhere 1.5, 2016
Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller, Alter Banhof Video Walk, 2012
Joaquín Torres García, América Invertida (Inverted Map of South America), 1943
Alighiero Boetti, Mappa,1990
Rodrigo Moreira, Emotional Landscapes, 2013
Bas Jan Ader, In Search of the Miraculous, 1975
To be mobile is to explore the presence of others in yourself.- H.B.M.
Nomadic Village, 2015- yearly organized settlement of artists on the road
Michelangelo Pistoletto, Love Difference, 2002
Adrian Paci, The Encounter, 2011
Kimsooja, A Needle Woman, 1999-2005
Lack of Mobility- Migration/Exile/Borders/Visa Issues:
Ursula Biemann, Sahara Chronicles, 2007
Bouchra Khalili, The Mapping Journey, 2008-2011
Zineb Sedira, Mother Tongue, 2002
Hydar Dewachi, I is an Other, 2012
Nevena Dragosavac, Artist without Residence
Liquid Modernity, Zygmunt Bauman
Idea of work, liquid society and the concept of mosaic and work in episodes.
Flexible life is also capitalistic, lost in world wide flexibility and if we are lost we are easily controlled. How can we take the best of the flexibility and keep the solid bonds that keep us grounded?
The capitalist elite is hyper mobile- so let’s be even more mobile then them- one view, other strategies of people returning back to the rural areas, avoiding hyper mobility to contrast environmental changes etc.
Work on being fluid
Raul, Livia, Emilio and I drifted to the falafal place and decided to stay marooned there. We agreed we are tired of movement and wanted to just connect while reflecting on the drift.