Purpose & expectations

The ways in which we doodle and what it means to doodle involves a stream of consciousness that seems almost unconscious, inherent within us. I have observed that the doodles I make begin arbitrarily but become carefully constructed and architectural. The act of making these drawings is meditative and stimulating at the same time. I make the drawings based on the "chance" occurrences from one line and its interaction with the next. I'm interested in translating this experience into an act that involves physically moving through a space based on this same sort of event of chance and diversion. The event will translate into something beyond moving a pencil across the space of the page. The urban landscape where the event will take place will yield discoveries, observations, and diversions (interesting or banal), similar to the act of making a doodle. The event will be documented with the aid of popular technology to explore perception through a digital filter as it occurs so often in everyday life. I'm interested in examining how the presence of a digital camcorder (documentation), and iPhone (GPS and social networking) shape the experience. My aim is not to remove technology in order to have what is often thought of as a more "pure" experience, but to embrace these devices because I believe in using them as invaluable tools for sharing experiences and inspiration. On a journey with expectations only to discover, I aim to share my experience with others and hope that the event will inspire and offer a different perspective on an otherwise commonplace event.

Outcome

My first dérive experience took place on Tuesday, February 24. I couldn't have asked for a nicer afternoon to spend 2.5 hours "drifting" around downtown Minneapolis. The sun was shining and it was a balmy 35º. My friend Brian Lee captured video footage of the experience and participated in the dérive as well. Another friend, Justin, graciously lent me his iPhone for the afternoon, on which I installed an application called MotionX GPS. I drew a section of a doodle I had previously drawn (see images below) on a transparency and placed it on top of a map of downtown Minneapolis. Each vertex of the drawing was labeled with a number, 26 points in total. I used that physical map to plot the points in Google Maps, with the aid of the Position Finder add-on, which gives coordinates for wherever you click on the map. I wrote down the coordinates for each point on the drawing, then entered them in as waypoints in MotionX GPS on the iPhone. The idea was that I would be able to navigate from waypoint to waypoint with the iPhone, essentially "following" the lines of my drawing, and the path I created in Google maps. However, the MotionX GPS application proved to be difficult to follow, as it would give an inaccurate signal if I stopped moving for more than a minute or two. I also kept a Twitter feed using the Twitterific application on the iPhone of my observations and included photos taken with the phone and a Google Maps image of where the photo was taken. So in order to take the photos, I had to stop moving, which gave me an inaccurate reading in the MotionX GPS navigation. After much confusion trying to follow the compass in the GPS application, Brian and I resorted to attempting to follow the paper map and drawing, and based on our own sense of the cardinal directions (which wasn't very good). I fully anticipated confusion and diversions due to the technology on our dérive. The object was to observe and embrace the diversions, which we had no trouble doing. There were many things along the way that were worth exploring and navigating away from our constructed route.

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Theory of the Dérive

From SITUATIONIST INTERNATIONAL ANTHOLOGY
(Guy Debord, 1956):

Theory of the Dérive

Among the various situationist methods is the dérive [literally: 'drifting'], a technique of transient passage through varied ambiances. The dérive entails playful-constructive behavior and awareness of psychogeographical* effects; which completely distinguishes it from the classical notions of the journey and the stroll.

In a dérive one or more persons during a certain period drop their usual motives for movement and action, their relations, their work and leisure activities, and let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there. The element of chance is less determinant than one might think: from the dérive point of view cities have a psychogeographical relief, with constant currents, fixed points and vortexes which strongly discourage entry into or exit from certain zones.


*Psychogeography was defined in 1955 by Guy Debord as the "the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals."Another definition is "a whole toy box full of playful, inventive strategies for exploring cities...just about anything that takes pedestrians off their predictable paths and jolts them into a new awareness of the urban landscape."The most important of these strategies is the dérive. (Wikipedia)

Route construction








Actual path

Images from MotionX GPS of our actual tracked path.

"blog in action"

The following posts are the images taken with the iPhone and posted to Twitter, along with Google map locations (for most) where the photo was taken.

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