Sometimes you are in a place yet you do not see the place. A reason to go beyond your own way of life is not always presented to you. The walk and talk is a way to break through often intangible barriers to seeing and thinking about your place in a different way.
What do you see, think, remember, and know?
The dérive unpeels the layers of dominant narratives and protocol to reveal memory, knowledge, assumptions, emotions, and ideas in the places we inhabit. It is a reason to share ways of seeing. The proposal is simple, to walk and talk, but the outcome is often unexpected. Through the presence and listening of the “other” one articulates ideas that perhaps are left unsaid or assumed in the daily routine of life.
This installation is a loose mapping of the revelations and connections that emerged in walks shared with locals. Selected excerpts of the talks are mapped along the lines of themes that emerged—Home, Marriage, Work and Power. Many excerpts are paraphrases of what was shared with me, and some are direct quotes. This wall represents the ideas, observations, and knowledge of those who participated. From this map interlocking stories begins to emerge. Local herders are being displaced from their land and water to make way for a new housing complex complete with shopping mall and amusement park. Young women obtain college degrees to become more “marriageable”. Workers and their families come from Nepal and Calcutta to work while locals have no jobs.
This project is based on the dérive and psychogeography, a method of urban exploration forwarded by the Situationists in Paris in the late 1950’s early 1960’s. Theorist Guy Debord defines the dérive as “a mode of experimental behavior linked to the conditions of urban society: a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiances.” He also notes “the term also designates a specific uninterrupted period of dériving.”
Dérives are necessary, according to Situationist theory, because of the increasingly predictable and monotonous experience of everyday life in advanced capitalism.
Work produced during the residency “Precarious Body and Work” at SIDE, March 2015.