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What is Psychogeophysics?

By The London Psychogeophysics Summit, 4 August 2010

The London Psychogeophysics Summit proposes an intense week-long, city-wide series of walks, fieldtrips, river drifts, open workshops and discussions exploring the novel interdisciplinary frame of psychogeophysics, colliding psychogeographics with earth science measurements and study (fictions of forensics and geophysical archaeology).

The Summit will take place from 2nd August to the 7th of August with daily/evening events at SPACE and walks and river drifts scattered across London. An evening of presentations and lectures will happen at HTTP at 7PM, Thursday 5th and a large open air event will take place on Saturday 7th August.

The psychogeophysics summit will commence with an open meeting and lunch at SPACE (address below) 11.30AM, Monday 2nd August 2010. The schedule will be updated frequently on THIS PAGE:

What is Psychogeophysics?

Something as ordinary as cause-and-effect has nothing to do with psychogeography. A plate of spaghetti has many beginnings and many ends, but these 'functions' are trivial, easily reversed effects of direction not products of divine teleological purpose. You can eat the plate from the outside in or from the top down, the result, when the cook is not a hack, should be the same.

Question: you enter a room, what happens to you?

Answer: psychogeography.

Question: what is happening to you from outside the room?

Answer: Psychogeophy.

Question: What?

Answer: Psychogeophysics; just as the entire weight of the earth conspire to pull down suspended objects (gravity; a relatively weak but keystone force) the human condition is being shaped by the entire earth: psychology as plate tectonics of the mind (duh).

Psychogeographers have deluded themselves in their petty INMB (In My Back Yard) regionalism and general lack of ambition to look beyond the city and beyond the contemporary. Cities come and go, neighbourhoods go from bust to boom in cyclical fashion. The psychogeophysical angle, which is has everything going for it, is already deluded by procedural navel gazing (the big fat belly of the google-jugend) and an irrational belief in the supreme objectivity of measurement and raw data. Leave the 'spectral ecologies' to the teletubbies; at least they come with a native antenna. Do not quote some boring ass with cheap glasses just because s/he knows how to calibrate a seismic sensor. Death to the White Coats!

Quote Vladimir Nabokov: “I confess I do not believe in time. I like to fold my magic carpet, after use, in such a way as to superimpose one part of the pattern upon another. Let visitors trip. And the highest enjoyment of timelessness – in a landscape selected at random – is when I stand among rare butterflies and their food plants. This is ecstasy, and behind the ecstasy is something else, which is hard to explain. It is like a momentary vacuum into which rushes all that I love. A sense of oneness with sun and stone. A thrill of gratitude to whom it may concern – to the contrapuntal genius of human fate or to tender ghosts humoring a lucky mortal.”

Time does not exist: our lives are too short to 'measure' it, time has astronomical minutes and geological seconds. Time is non-human. What we experience as time is background noise 300 decimals behind the comma. Our time is part of the margin of error, a fluctuation too small to spawn butterfly effects even in geological time.

The conventional hierarchies of urban space (the non-urban has tended to be a dead zone to be regarded with savage contempt ever since Debord and his wife-beating minions polluted the waters of psychogeography) from rooms, to houses, to streets, to neighbourhoods and upwards; the rifts and sensation experienced through drifting along the rigged, non-seamless man-made portmanteau environments are understood by psychogeographers as critical situations to diagnose the human condition. Can't they see that this is rubbish? Or rather, can't they see that this marginalizes the human artefact (the realm of input) to the point of wafer-thin, almost invisible, absurdity? Is a flaneur defined by the street and shops s/he wanders and explores? Is a magnetotactic bacteria navigating up and down the magnetic field through crystalline magnetosomatic pathfinding-techniques defined by the compass? Ley lines are straight lines drawn from an unwobbling pivot and this reveals their status as pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo; complexity is my sextant.

Making use of their native head-mounted antennas the teletubbies (strangers from a strange land making house in the “Tubbytronic Superdome”) are daily invaded by incoming parasitic signals beamed from a golden-skinned dome. Unknown forces are hijacking the metallic silver-azure rectangular “screens” adorning their abdomens to transmit evil images of play and fun enacted by zombie-child actors. They are psychogeophysics' iconic martyrs, defenseless against a violent and oppressing world of push-media. We are tipsy on the heroics of Dipsy. 'Uh-oh' is our battle cry as we lay siege on the Vesuvius.

Cosmonauts returning to earth after years in space (the Russian approach) will want to take a deep breath of real unprocessed fresh earth air: what stands out is not freshness but stench. The earth stinks. It smells of pond scum and volcano snot. Earth's background olfactory may have al sorts of effects, may be chemically programming us, may be manipulated to make us do or not do certain things, nobody has researched it. Emotions are strange things: real and unreal simultaneously, like a dream or a Chinese poem in modernist 'translation'. Reread the Crystalpunk Manifesto.

Psychogeographers are laughed at in the same streets they adore. A mountain is more important than Paris, a volcano is more important than Cairo, an earthquake is more important than Dubai, the geomagnetic north is more important than all cities in the Americas together. A billion+ years of void, Los Angeles sinks into the ocean (cataclysm), a billion+ years of void. A billion+ years of void, a garden fence falls to the ground (cataclysm), a billion+ years of void. Geophysics not geography defines us. Lat/Lon systematics can not contain earth masses on the move. Mount Fuji does not need

Quote Dogen (1200-1253):“All mountains ride on clouds and walk in the sky. Above all waters are all mountains. Walking beyond and walking within are both done on water. All mountains walk with their toes on all waters and splash there”.

Quote Dogen: “All beings do not see mountains and waters in the same way. Some beings see water as a jeweled ornament, but they do not regard jeweled ornaments as water. What in the human realm corresponds to their water? We only see their jeweled ornaments as water. Some beings see water as wondrous blossoms, but they do not use blossoms as water. Hungry ghosts see water as raging fire or pus and blood. Dragons see water as a palace or a pavilion. Some beings see water as the seven treasures or a wish-granting jewel. Some beings see water as a forest or a wall“.

The landmasses move, seas wander, 'continental drift' does not need punning by a contemporary Walter Benjamin. The Holocene is ending, the anthropocene, in which an ever expanding human real acts as a “new telluric force which in power and universality may be compared to the greater forces of earth” is our great accelerating compliment. All these thing do not need measuring they need awe: horror and terror in stroboscopic alternation. Psychogeophyiscs revolves around the open secret of human frailty, the dark heart of finality.

Quote Joseph Conrad: ”There were moments when one's past came back to one, as it will sometimes when you have not a moment to spare to yourself; but it came in the shape of an unrestful and noisy dream, remembered with wonder amongst the overwhelming realities of this strange world of plants, and water, and silence. And this stillness of life did not in the least resemble a peace. It was the stillness of an implacable force brooding over an inscrutable intention.”