Next Five Minutes - PsychoPresentationality

[Next Five Minutes - PsychoPresentationality]

Generative, algorithmic psychogeography makes you "deformed" says Wilfried Houjebek during his presentation at part two of psychogeography-- a rather oddly organised presentation, as well, for the man behind, with odd detours, inverse explanations, and a straight jump into the theoretics of dot-walk without an introduction to the history of Situationist dą©rive or Bey's TAZ-dowsing. But that's part of Wiflried's charm: he's a strange man, head shaven, kind of tall, a big Dutch farmer type, and he managed to begin explaining what dot-walk does beyond the actual 'numbered drift.'

"Streets become numbers," says Wilfried, and basically the 'urban code' produced allows one to map out ways to produce complete abstract maps that nonetheless form concrete directions to all the weird places marked in a city. The idea is to head in various directions & visit particular streets that have a high intensive factor, i.e. a street that has that special quality the Situationists spent decades mapping, the non-goal of the dą©rive. Now this can be mapped in such a way that journeys can be planned between such spaces and visualized and experienced in a map (and set of 'directions') that eliminates extraneous data. It all ties into Wilfried's severe doubting of reality--like Genesis P-Orridge--which makes his project perhaps more interesting; as I find, as Mr. Tuters did, that it remains very impressive and yet humourous that Wilfried can generate such rational conclusions from such abstract work. He's basically a sceptic; and the numerical basis of dot.walk somewhat undermines this scepticism (Why rely on numbers? Why not go straight the core of Situationism or dowsing or other 'intuitive' practices? Yet we remember the purges practiced by Debord over similar such motives-- a kind of puritan Situationism, in the end, anti-consumerist to the core, the point of induced-boredom-as-tactic). Yet the end product of this numerical basis to walking--what are the algorithmic instructions--produces code that goes somewhere, physically as well as mentally, and creates an alternate--or, perhaps for Wilfried--truer reality. And in a way it is, for the maps are for directions and nodes of desire, although they are produced via the subjection to a numerical mapping system. What is missing is the flow of Situationist mapping.. but this is a different strategy, afterall. Remix history, and Wilfried is a classical Pythagorean. Numbers are reality.

A few others (sorry, names were rarely properly introduced; email me if you've got them..) concentrated on mapping movements. Esther Polak mapped the travels of essentially the working class (a way to also understand the movement of the methods and work of production), of farmers and milk gatherers via GPS, thereby producing maps that act as 'movement snapshots' (and what was interesting here was the personal attachment subjects gave to these maps and their reactions, captured, to seeing a map of their movements). The first implementation was the Amsterdam RealTime project. The second involved the milk-gatherers in Rioja. Another talk by Ben Russell focused on ubiquitous devices that could allow a direct, trust-based bartering and sharing system using local wireless tech. So, to use the bantered example, we could list the books in our houses and create a wired library which can then be shared via direct wireless events.. i.e., our Palms are wirelessly connected in a local proximity zone to speak and beep to each other, thereby generating live interactions with new people--"you've found someone who wants Finnegan's Wake!" etc-- and possibly leading to barters or lending or renting situations (or perhaps services, etc.). Think of it like a geo-localised Friendster, so Friendster can come with you, on the move, and you can know who is who via degrees of trust (via PGP signatures, perhaps) and/or degrees of separation that show geo-traceable friendship networks. This one is a little ideal and perhaps utopian, in my view, and requires a massive amount of tech to see the light. However, last but not least was a great piece, by Drew Hemment, on a reverse surveillance project (anti-Celldar) that utilises cellphone locationality to monitor government officials, for example. Neat, practical, entirely possible.

And some bad news at the end-- a patent has been launched attempting to corporatise the idea of geo-networks, i.e., patent the entirely basic idea of localised wireless networks that utilise geography. It's like patenting frames. But that too has been down-- so go figure, & this bodes poorly for all involved in this type of work. May I repeat again: the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) is one more nail in the coffin the US has been burying for some time, included in the deposition are: the Bill of Rights; Constitution; and copyright freedoms. Instead we have PATRIOT I and II, VICTORY, RAVE, DMCA and a whole host of other beautifully fascist laws ensuring complete private control over information, and thus, power and capital.

More soon. Beer and dinner time.

posted. Fri - September 12, 2003 @ 05:52 PM           |