We agreed on the idea of playing with elevation and maze. Our site is Marshall Field. Since the site is surrounded by different elevations(people can sort of see the place from the back door of Heimbold) The viewers are able to see the layout of our maze structure pretty clearly on the steps (sort of being “visionary”) Also, we uses a lot of different materials to decorate our structure skeleton. While people interact with our marker. They experience a completely differently from seeing it above or outside. We considered our site to be pretty deserted. So we thought about a lot of how to attract people to our site. We play with sound and light reflections using foil papers. It was really successful. The process of working a group project was really fun. It was both harder and easier. It was hard to get everyone to meet and work on our project. It was easy when everyone divided the works which made everything done in a short amount of time. Also it was great to hear everyone’s idea and ways of thinking and working. We really enjoyed this project and it was a great success!
[The site seen from the main path] My marker offers a sort of communication in an otherwise unused space on campus, combining dissonant elements such as the technology of the QR code compared to the simple wood. Additionally, the QR code is hand drawn which further disassociates the high tech aspect from its execution on my marker. Hand drawing the QR code is revolutionary because it’s technology being used outside the system. The technology itself brings about an at attempt communication: the marker asks for your name and requests that you talk to it, a very human interaction. [After being removed the code remains active in photographs of the installation] The figure drawn on the ground in front of the marker indicates a human entity at work, but one that has been removed from the site and is no longer physically present. The site itself is very human-constructed, bisected by a drainpipe, but people usually stay on the cement path. The marker also looks like a standard terrain marker such as one might encounter while traveling, but it doesn’t help one to locate oneself. The board itself is held up with natural materials (large rocks found in the area) in a manmade drainpipe. [The figure worn down after a week of presentation] I was most influenced by Amitav Ghosh because his mental geography was so influenced by people interacting with a place that he had never known or seen, yet who became part of his own mental geography. I was inspired by this to include communication with an unknown figure. It is my intention to see if I can record any of the interactions with the marker. I received a blank text message, several hangup messages, and one person who when prompted for a name responded “Noooooooooooo.” Views of the post and the figure (more visible here) seen in the rain at night –
Here’s a very early outline of what I have planned for my conference work. I have noticed that many people use public wall space as a canvas for expressing themselves around campus. People are compelled to speak their mind, and as a result there are a lot of messages, doodles and scribblings all over the place. I am planning on making a map that shows some of these messages and draws interesting relationships between message types. I’m definitely not set on these types being Band Name, Doodles, and Political Messages, but I used them to develop an early sign system and method of encoding information into my draft above. I am going to go out some evening this week and take pictures of everything I can, and then go to work sorting through and drawing some interesting connections to map out. Thinking back, I have always found something amusing about the graffiti in bathroom stalls around campus (not that this project is limited to bathroom graffiti). However it wasn’t until checking out Everything Sings and seeing Dennis Wood’s graffiti map that I realized this could be interesting to do around SLC. I hope to take this map a few steps beyond his, and map some connections between the underlying themes that I discover in the messages, and use the project as an opportunity to connect with the thoughts of those who write on walls around these here parts.
We have visualised the methods of our ‘identity’ in three ways: firstly we drew attention to the most surreal thing in the space – the emergency pole; secondly we used the nature of a line to break up depth, distance and direction so that perception of the space would be distorted and dream like (the tension, connection and colour of the strings all contribute to this); thirdly, the web like pattern that emerged is evocative of the fractal yet narrative nature of dreams. Our work is an example of Psychogeography in that it is a response to the nature of a space which would change the way the site was mapped. It also forces people who enter the space to interact with it in a different way. The strings prevent straightforward passage, and actively encourage diversions, disorientation and unconscious responses unique to the individual. Lines imply direction but also a boundary or separation. Connected or intersecting lines imply connection or intersection of meaning, but it is for the unconscious to make sense of any connection they might have – just as it is the job of the unconscious to make sense of a sofa in the shape of Mae West’s lips, or a rain of men in bowler hats. One of the most interesting things the work does to the space is to distort depth perception. The mind unconsciously associates the lines of electricity cables across the roads with the lines of string and cord in the installation and given that this happens from many angles it does make the are a small bubble of distortion – in some ways a world of its own. This effect is enhanced by the fact that one cannot see the installation when one approaches from main campus, so that coming upon it suddenly through the trees is quite a surprise. The strings also draw attention to verticals generally not noticed by people who mainly use the sight as a thoroughfare. The emphasis on allowing unconscious impulses to translate into actions in the discussion of surrealist psychogeography from Coverly was particularly influential, especially given the ‘on the fly’ nature of construction and planning. We should perhaps have liked to refine it a little more, play with more verticals and perhaps mimic the strangeness presence of the emergency pole more directly but on the whole we are satisfied, and we had fun.
Our group visualized our identity as the Flaneur in several ways. First, we wanted our work to embody the wandering qualities of the Flaneur by creating different visual attractions to guide the eye in a wandering fashion around the landscape. Second, we chose to use a reflective material so that the viewer would be both an observer of the landscape, as well as being able to see themselves reflected in, and a part of, the landscape. This was inspired by the Flaneur being both a part of the city as the navigate it, and an observer. Our work is an example of psychogeography because it is intended to alter the viewer’s perception of the landscape. To begin with our site is one that is often overlooked, making the mylar a drastic change to the landscape. The piece both works with, and contrasts with, the landscape by contrasting natural and unnatural materials and shapes. The bizarre and shiny nature of the landscape now entirely changes the way it is perceived and interacted with. Passersby stop to stare at what was once overlooked. We were influenced by the idea that “our own journey [through the landscape] is entirely imaginary” and used this idea to try to create a landscape which would inspire the imagnings of the viewer (Coverley, 70). We also chose to tackle the Flaneur’s task of “reconciling the contradictory roles of everyday reality and unconscious desire” (Coverley, 73). The exsiting landscape represents our everyday reality and the abstract and brightly reflective shapes reflect unconscious desire. The artist that we were most inspired by was Andy Goldsworthy. His work is very site specific and encorporates materials found at the site. In our interpretation, we use the elements of the landscape such as rocks and trees, yet we chose to add and alter elements of the landscape in order to create disonnance between the viewer’s expectations and their visual experience. (Group 2: Mariko, Rebecca, Hillary, Mikey, Xara)
For our space, we chose make our sculpture more interactive by focusing on the vibe of the stalker rather than a specific, targeted act of stalking itself. Instead of designing a sculpture to be fixed on observing a particular place (i.e. always looking into one window), we wanted to make our sculpture semi-hidden and to stalk people passing by on Bates Hill. Some sculptures will go unnoticed until you just pass them — only for them to be out of sight when one tries to investigate. Going about this at several points down the hill replicates the creepy, omnipresent feeling of the stalker. We are attempting to use our figure to impose a creeping sense that the site is stalking those who interact with it. Since people most frequently walk down Bates hill, and our repeating, wide-eyed figure slowly becomes more defined as they move that way, it is our intention that people will perceive our figure as appearing with the intention of observing them. Transversely, by recognizing this sudden unexpected presence and observing it, we think that people will themselves become stalkers (i.e. observers with intention). We are using the natural topography of the site to help display our figures in a way that draws the audience’s eye to these installations. As people walk down (or up) the hill, the natural slope of the site (along with the various trees, rocks, and bushes) provide various ways to help partially conceal our figures, forcing the audience to have a more “searching” eye and adding a slight air of mystery. Our piece is an example of psychogeography in the way that it promotes a new sense of consciousness and awareness about the space. By placing our sculpture, we have transformed our space into one that invites exploration from any pedestrian that interacts with it. To someone who regularly traverses Bates hill, there is something new there, and not only is it curious, it’s watching you. It is our hope that by transforming our space using the notions of psychogeography (specifically the stalker), we have turned people’s awareness into their environment in a way that makes them psychogeographers, or stalkers, themselves. We were definitely inspired by the stalkers we read about. We used the reading to form a general idea about the ethos of the stalker. From the reading, we took the ideas that the stalker is attached to the moment, is personally involved in the observation. They are intense, zoomed in on particular things, and gain their freedom by taking others. Their journeys are made with intent, and they are somewhat manic and uncontrolled. We think we have put these elements into our sculptures. Our site makes visible these notions of psychogeography. We were influenced by the artists Picasso and Susan Graham.
We are imagining our psychogeographic figure in this way The concept of the flaneur centers around walking and looking. The flaneur is an observer of the crowd, whilst simultaneously being a part of the crowd. We are using this figure in order to… subvert perceptions of isolation in relation to the notion of the crowd. We are hoping that those looking at the sculpture can gain a new understanding of what it means to observe a familiar zone, but perceive it in an alternative consciousness. We are responding to our site in these particular ways… There is a lot going on at and around our site. There is a slanted piece of land, multiple rocks, trees, and a student gathering zone lovingly entitled “the hot rock.” We are hoping to work with this varied landscape and reflect it from multiple perspectives that will allow our participants to observe it in different ways than they are accustomed to. By utilizing predominantly shiny, reflective materials, we are hoping to create the illusion of the crowd and melt away the observer’s false notions of isolation. Since this is a social gathering zone, we want our sculpture to be large enough to engaged with by a large crowd of people. We are also hoping that it could be a conversation point for numerous people. We’re hoping to build our noodle-like structure into the slant of the land, working with the natural curve of the Earth, rather than in direct opposition to it. We are working with these materials… mylar, plaster, and chicken wire
We are imagining our psychogeographic figure in this way… We imagine the stalker as an distorted, attached, and elusive character whose behavior is fixed on a particular object or person. The stalker can blend in with society at large yet the act of stalking is not necessarily a generalized activity. There is always a specific target, certain ways in which one’s privacy is violated, and a particular power play at hand where the target is in put in a subordinate position relative to the stalker. For the stalkee (?), an eerie, on-edge vibe permeates through the air as a shadowy being feels omnipresent. For our space, we chose make our sculpture more interactive by focusing the vibe of the stalker rather than a specific, targeted act of stalking itself. Instead of designing a sculpture fixed on observing a particular place (i.e. always looking into one window), we want to make our sculpture semi-hidden and for the object of the object of the stalker to be people passing by on Bates Hill. Some parts will go unnoticed until you just pass them — only for them to be out of sight when one looks back. Going about this at several points down the hill replicates the creepy, omnipresent feeling of the stalker We are using this figure in order to… We are attempting to use our figure to impose a creeping sense that the site is stalking those who interact with it. Since people most frequently walk down Bates hill, and our repeating, wide-eyed figure slowly becomes more defined as they move that way, it is our intention that people will perceive our figure as appearing with the intention of observing them. Transversely, by recognizing this sudden unexpected presence and observing it, we think that people will themselves become stalkers (i.e. observers with intention). We are responding to our site in these particular ways… We are using the natural topography of the site to help display our figures in a way that draws the audience’s eye to these installations. As people walk down (or up) the hill, the natural slope of the site (along with the various trees, rocks, and bushes) provides various ways to help partially conceal our figures, forcing the audience to have a more “searching” eye and adding a slight air of mystery. We are working with these materials… metal pencil rods to capture the silhouette of a person, changing from a simple pole in the ground to an abstract representation of the human body. We will use different fabrics to incorporate movement and hair to contribute to the creepiness aspect.
Five potential Psychogeograpic methods for exploring a space, in the spirit of surrealism:
- Retracing the path you took in a dream.
- Closing your eyes and trying not to walk in a spiral (as is your natural instinct).
- Going to everything that pleases you, without trying to rationally understand why.
- Explore the space whilst incredibly sleep deprived.
- Imaging something utterly incongruous (like a walking purple triangle with teeth) and follow it around the space.
1. Only walk through frames such as doorways, arches, awnings, etc. 2. Only walk uphill. 3. Walk only where others don’t. 4. Walk towards a fixed point until you can’t, then repeat. 5. Approach barriers, then jump over them. Repeat.
List of methods that were used to traverse the campus: -Being completely concealed/hidden and observing the area/people surrounding -Following someone/something consistently (ex: a person walking out of bates, following a squirrel) -Immersing one’s self in a crowded area in order to inconspicuously follow someone. -Taking alternative paths to remain hidden from view. -Also: Taking on the part of an observer by taking crowded paths, immersing one’s self to be hidden in plain sight.
Group 2: Mariko, Mikey, Hillary, Rebecca On our derive we utilized some techniques that would be common for a flaneur. 1) Aimless strolling 2) Observing passersby 3) Following people and things that struck our interest 4) Participating in flows of movement around the campus while retaining individuality 5) Followed pathways that were aesthetically pleasing
Today the Historians walked around the campus, from spaces around Heimbold to Marshall Field to the space near Tweed. As we walked, we discussed the unique histories of the buildings and the landscapes. We walked around Heimbold, considering what materials we would use for our sculpture. A few methods of traversing the campus that utilize its history (which we haven’t tried yet, but will potentially) -Finding a map of the school in the archives from several decades ago, and visiting various places on the map which have since moved, then re-imagining those spaces in their former glory. For example, the Pub has gone through several transformations before it became what we know today, such as the nurse’s office. -Talking to neighbors from Hill who have lived in the apartment building before it was student housing, and asking them how they traversed the campus. -Looking at William VanDoozer Lawrence’s plans for developing the town and visiting and reimagining the sites as he must have seen them.