crowd psychogeography

Posted by Wilfried Hou Je bek | Fri Jan 17th 2003 1 a.m.

another walk, but without any of that algorithm stuff:


Gather at the meeting point in the main hall of
Utrecht Central Trainstation

Be there at 16.30

One definition of psychogeography might be that it's a
discipline that maps the ways in which the design of
spaces & places work to evoke, influence or manipulate
moods & behaviour.

Another possible definition of psychogeography might
be that it's an activity that tries to figure out how
the cognitive image we have of a certain place has
been formed by it design & this image is conform
reality by exploring it in a way that is different
from normal use of that space. By doing algorithmic
walks for instance.

The experiment Social Fiction will undertake at
January the 25th, 2003 in that lovely town called
Utrecht, which happens to be where we live, will
combine the approaches of both definitions in an
effort to try to find out in which ways the
availability of a crowd, or a lack thereof, changes
your appreciation of a certain place.

Since the early seventies Utrecht has been blessed
with a concrete corridor called Hoog Catharijne (HC)
that connects the train station with the old heart of
the town. For most people HC is only a obstacle, a
trench filled with shops & people that has to be
passed ASAP. What a lot of people fail to notice is
that HC apart form this own crowded trench also offers
the visitor a wide range of allies, obscure entrances
& staircases at 3 different levels, most of which seem
to be without function.

But apart from the crowds, HC has got another
reputation, that of being unsafe in the evening when
large groups of addicts & homeless people seek shelter
there for the night. Even though at a square like
Neude more violence & robberies happen than at HC, the
latter is in the eye of the public a dangerous no-go

For this experiment participants are asked to follow
people, without them noticing you, on their various
ways through HC to find out where they are going to,
what they are doing & what seems to determine their
decisions to go about. By infiltrating the crowd, it
might be possible to find out how being part of a
crowd changes your perception of the place.

By doing this experiment at the end of the afternoon
it will be possible to experience HC when it's very
crowded & when it's returning to it's desolate state
in the stretch of one hour.

The participants in the possession of the will to do
so are encouraged to find out if the observation made
by Elias Canetti that 'The hallucinations of alcohol
provides us with an opportunity to study crowds as
they appear in mind of individuals' by using alcoholic
beverages before & during the experiment.
All the participants are invited to join the bald
anarchists of Social Fiction afterwards to a pub
famous for it's beer called Belgium.

===== |

Don't be fooled by the rocks that we got, we are still from the block.

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