Situating Manhattan


Psy-Geo-Conflux is coming to New York this weekend. "Part festival and part conference," the event's website declares, "it brings together visual and sound artists, writers and urban adventurers to explore the physical and psychological landscape of the city." Or, in the words of The Village Voice: "The event is centered around a seasoned yet growing field of creative recreation and alt-geographic exploration called psychogeography. Trying to define this obtuse field is an adventure itself, although a relatively straightforward definition includes 'the study of the effects of the geographic environment on the emotions and behavior of individuals.'"

In practice, that means a creative crew of artists, philosophers, and urban spulunkers are planning an assortment of oddities and adventures. Among them: "Sharilyn Neidhart organizes an outdoor human chess match powered by cell phones. Margrethe Lauber leads a tour and group photo shoot of 'back spaces' of famous buildings such as those at the UN and Lincoln Center. The Brooklyn-based collective Toyshop fills the streets with 'sound riots,' a 'detritus band,' and a junk band. The Dutch creator of, Wilfried Hou Je Bek, will generate computer codes from pedestrians. Photographer and author Colette Meacher gives a lecture on discovering Immanuel Kant's theory of the sublime on city blocks. Sound artist Sal Randolph organizes a weekend-long collaborative field recording pool, transmitted in via cell phones and back out as streaming MP3s on the Web."

The word "psychogeography" was invented in the '50s, but the idea really goes back to the surrealists' notion of the d?rive. For more on the topic, go here.

[Via Bryan Alexander.]