Articulating Trans-Territorality. Geographical And Disciplinary Dispacements.

A Workshop With Herman Bashiron Mendolicchio


Theory of the Dérive

The drift.

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

Alighiero e Boetti
Mappa, 1971-72
embroidery on linen
200 x 360 cm


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.

 Surrender- always some elements that we cannot control.  You are observing but feel you are being observed. Artists are always in this relation.
Exercise 3- Answer to questions:
1. Alternative modes of communication. Changing entrenched patterns of communication within myself.
2. Yes
3. Radical art programs could explore radically different ways of engaging with each other’s work and each other as people that are built on respect and compassion.
4. Project openness and kindness
5. I am saying yes to helping move things forward when that help is wanted.
I am saying no to oppressing or being oppressed.
6. I am trying
7. I am on my 3rd or 4th step now and don’t yet know what that should be
1. recently- film editing
2. made my first larger scale 16mm film/passed RDC1/ finished editing an anthology on artistic research / cared for very sick family members and a small child in the past months while doing this
3. above
4. the film project was filled with risks from materials to working with people I have never worked with before
5. the film project and the editing and the caring
6. the film project
7. the film project
8. gratitude, I was overwhelmed with it at the moment when the camera started running on the first take.
9. diplomacy
1. maybe it is not the obvious, or the default in my case, an analytical mind, maybe it has more to do with the heart or the body
2. yes I do
3. yes sort of
4. contingency
5. some of them
6. I am not sure
7. I am not sure
8. I am ready
Methodologies/thinking about articulation in a more long term way, way beyond the PhD.