Urban Habitat Research Posts

Psychogeography Comes to Central Square

October 17, 2005 08:43 AM | Posted in: Art , Urban Habitat Research

Art Interactive and Glowlab, a local "network of psychogeographers" is using Central Square as an exhibition and investigation space for the next nine weeks, conducting experiments with laughing bicycles, art/clothing made from trash, and other psychogeographic phenomena.

Wikipedia says, "Psychogeography is "The study of specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organised or not, on the emotions and behaviour of individuals", according to the article Preliminary Problems in Constructing a Situation, in Situationniste Internationale No. 1 (1958) ."

I first heard the term psychogeography while reading J.G. Ballard's The Terminal Beach, Concrete Island, and Crash. Richard Calder is a more recent example of a writer working with these ideas. (Note to the curious: Calder's writings include some *unusual* tastes and flavors.) Calder may have optioned one of his novels for film production. Of the members of the Situationist International mentioned by Wikipedia, I'm most familar with Guy Debord's writings, from quite a few semina sessions on media theory, cultural theory, postmodern theory.

Regardless of psychogeography's origins, all roads lead to the internet now: a quick Google query turns up, which links to an essay titled Dada Photomontage and Sitemaps that compares Dadaist photomontages to the familar sitemap. The first two citations in the piece are the Yale Style Guide, and Tufte's Visualizing Information.

The circle closes easily, since one of the link threads leads to, where you find a page on [Generative] Psychogeogrpahy. Random note; socialfiction's banner carries references to "carthographic sadism * gabber avant-gardism * experimental knowledge * DIY urbanism" - all likely cadidates for Amazon's SIP statistically improbable phrases listings. Perhaps most intriguing is "disco socialism". Now that might catch on in some public policy circles that could use a bit of help picking a good back beat...

A quick selection of events that looked interesting:

6:30PM - 8:30PM: N55 Artist Talk & Dinner
Hosted with the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT
Danish artists' group N55 creates mobile tools and situations for everyday living: a workplace, a modular boat, a shop, a factory, a clean air machine, a commune, and even a personal rocket. Food & Drink provided. NOTE: This event is hosted at CAVS, 265 Mass Ave, 3Fl (Bldg N-52, Rm 390), Cambridge MA.

6PM - 9PM: Glowlab Party!
Hosted by the Boston Society of Architects. All young artists, designers, architects and their friends are invited to enjoy good food and cheer and become a part of a growing network of young professionals who are shaping the future of Boston. Free drinks & entertainment. RSVP to

For those of you with fashion inclinations (spurred by watching too much InStyle?)

12PM - 5PM: DIY Wearable Challenge
Make an interactive outfit from Cambridge trash and discarded electronics Led by Jonah Brucker-Cohen and Katherine Moriwaki.

local tags: architecture, art, cambridge, ia, information, jgballard, psychogeography, science_fiction, situationists

Traces of Fire

May 26, 2004 09:55 PM | Posted in: Urban Habitat Research

Traces of Fire is an art exhibit and social experiment that used wildlife-tracking telemetry to trace the movements of ten cigarette lighters 'lost' in famous pubs in Limerick. The lighters were carried around Limerick by unknown people, as transmitters relayed location and motion data to observing artists for nearly two weeks. From the cumulative data, the artists built a series of exhibitions showing patterns in the locations and movements of the lighters around the city.

local tags: art, cyberart, limerick, urbanism, visualization

©2008 by Joe Lamantia :: joe [at]