Patta Psychogeographic Practice
Within the Situationist mindset, the city was meant to be treated as language – through a daily routine of aimless drifting (a method described as dérive), the urban environment was to be read, analyzed (and criticized) as text, as a piece of prose or poetry.
In that sense, one could argue that the specific relationship between the city and the wanderer should be regarded as a dialogue, a discourse, a form of speech. Walking the city is like arguing with the streets, singing with the canals, conspiring with the traffic lights, philosophizing with the neon signs. The city becomes a poem, a novel – with street names behaving as the titles of chapters, and graffiti functioning as scribbled footnotes in the margins.
Simultaneously, the city can be regarded as a living archive – a library of hidden knowledge and popular information, of subcultural codes and political propaganda. The city is a memory battlefield, where mass media clashes with occult sign systems, where happenings of the past keep haunting the present, and where traces and marks appear on the walls like living organisms – a continuous broadcast in stone.
In the same way that the streets behave as an infrastructure of language, the city functions as a patchwork of subcultures, movements, groups, tendencies. To move through the city is to strategically circulate through a structuralist grid of mods, nozems, provos, punks, teds, rockers, skinheads, rude boys, beats, dreads. Picking up sounds from open windows, car radios and boomboxes, the wanderer moves to the soundtrack of the city, stepping to the beat of electrified youth crazes, go-go mayhem, and doo-wop riots. Drifting through the city thus becomes a choreography – a continuous skank, a rhythmic twist-and-crawl, from street to street, from square to square.
Tracing the hidden history of subcultural modernism (from Lettrism to the Situationist International, from Provo to Punk), one quickly notices that this diagrammatic family tree, this genealogical chart of movements and tendencies, resembles a true city map – and the only way to study this history is to walk. To drift is to study, to study is to drift.
Experimental Jetset 2022