Do you ever feel like you’re just drifting through the city without really noticing it? Then let’s slow down a bit and take it all in.
Join us on a walk led by Dominic Inouye that is one part Surrealist visite and one part Situationist dérive (a more focused kind of “drift”), a two-hour walking exploration that will begin with the sun and end with the moon, a direct, personal encounter with the city that will navigate the intersection of two neighborhoods, without a map, with no other purpose than to reveal the the marvelous in the banal, to intensify the ordinary, and to recognize our own feelings and urges, memories and fantasies along the way.
Our first movement (about 45-60 mins.) will begin in the cav...e-like Swing Park--a space that juxtaposes concrete and childhood, emptiness and energy --and continue north across the Marsupial Bridge--hanging peacefully under the Holton Street Viaduct--to Kilbourn Reservoir Park with its panoramic views of the city. From there, we will head back down to street level to explore parts of Riverwest and Harambee on a general northwestly trajectory, using our cameras to pay attention to things typically overlooked or underappreciated. Walkers will be invited, too, to do what many Situationist dérivistes did and playfully concentrate their attention on, say, a particular color or pattern or ambiance as they drift. Here, again, our cameras will come in handy.
The second movement will have us return and drift back to Swing Park. How we get there will be up to us. Whether we hang out afterward will up to us. There are no rules or expectations--or at least we can pretend there aren’t for two hours.
ABOUT THE SURREALISTS & SITUATIONISTS
The Surrealists, founded by Andre Breton in 1920s Paris, sought to revolutionize daily life with art, literature, and, unknown to many, the action of walking itself. For Breton, a visite was about “remaking life, one that needed to be found again and intensified.” In one sense, they were bored. In another, the Surrealists walked to explore their own unconscious and that of the city, as their city was experiencing the advent of automobile traffic that added an extra layer of patterning to their lives. In 1922, Breton wrote a poem that ended “Take to the highways,” which meant, literally, get out on the street, walk, experience, be open to encounter something new.
In a similar way, the Situationists of 1950s-1970s Paris used their drifting through the city, or dérives, to discover what they called “ambiance of place,” the ways a particular place made them feel or think. They would map the unités d’ambiance that would reveal hot spots of good or bad feelings. If we have “placemaking” today, this might be considered “placefeeling,” or psychogeography. Both pursuits share a desire to transform a city, discovering voids and seeking alternatives. Even more so, for the Situationists, their walking was a way to flout the utilitarian, capitalistic patterns that created the familiar pattern of Métro, boulot, métro, dodo (“Subway, work, subway, sleep”). Guy Debord urged psychogeographic dérivistes to “drop their usual motive for movement and action... and let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there.”
ABOUT DOMINIC INOUYE
Dominic Inouye is the founder and director of ZIP MKE, which uses photography to celebrate all 28 ZIP Codes in the city, connect and engage communities, and expand social perspectives by diminishing preconceived assumptions. He once skipped prodigiously through Paris to expedite his catching of the last metro of the night back to Montmartre.