I support new phone apps like Drift, that encourage people to get lost in their own city.

In the tradition of the Situationists and psychogeography, smartphone apps like Drift give you random sets of vague directions to follow along city streets that you may be way-to-familiar-and-perhaps?-bored with, allowing you to perhaps re-find the wonder and fantastical nature of reality in your mundane-due-to-routine caused-by the superstructure life.

My friend Rachel puts it well on the Pop Up City.

Losing yourself in your city with a smartphone directly references the Situationists in 1960s Paris, who would use maps of London to negotiate the streets — and is a pretty lovely activity.

It’s also a great subversion of technology that makes it very hard to be lost these days. Laptops and smartphones, with their internet maps and GPS are constantly there to remind you where you are, and how to get here or there. Knowing where you are all the time makes you feel dull, unpracticed in the business of figuring things out on your own — it makes it hard to feel that rush of being lost, the heightened senses of personal reorientation and calibration between you and your eyes and stomach and heart’s orientation to space and the world. It’s about using the technology that puts you in a malaise to get out of your malaise.

Trying to find directions to brunch tomorrow from our hotel in downtown Portland, I discovered a neat little psychgeographic game that I just might try one day, and would like to share with you.

I call it google-drift. And it’s easy to play.

Step one:

STEP 1 >> On google maps, find walking directions from wherever you are to somewhere you need or want to get to: perhaps as close as the falafel shop down the street.

STEP 2 >> Along the blue line that will appear as your route, drag the points randomly all over the map: this can be as close or as far away from the intended starting point and destination as you wish: it’s up to you to calibrate the game to match your walking mood.

STEP 3 >> Repeat step 2 until you get a loopedy loop, non-sensical, backwards and forwards kind of route.

STEP 4 >> Print the route.

STEP 5 >> Follow the directions to a tee.

STEP 6 >> Enjoy the non-sensical nature of your walk, look up, and find things you never have before.

Advertisements