22 June 2010

On Walking

I came across some books and material recently, connected in a way to the rebirth and increasing popularity of walking as a random activity, following on one hand Walter Benjamin's flâneur and on the other Situationists' psychogeography.

Francesco Careri, member of neo-situationist group Stalker, "a collective subject that engages research and actions within the landscape with particular attention to the areas around the city's margins and forgotten urban space, and abandoned areas or regions under transformation", wrote in 2001 Walkscapes: Walking as an Aesthetic Practice, in which he goes back to the primitive men to introduce his suburban idyll on foot. Needless to say that they took Tarkovsky as main inspiration.

In the same year Rebecca Solnit, cultural mastermind of San Francisco, was writing Wanderlust: A History of Walking, with a more American and artistic/historic viewpoint, influenced by Italian anthropologist and architect Franco La Cecla, who by himself, wrote Perdersi (to get lost).

Iain Sinclair published in 2003 London Orbital, a book and short movie about his city, seen from the perspective of a pedestrian who walks following the marginal land and territories near to the M25 motorway that encircles Greater London.

Two other wonderful publications, connected with the idea of detour and the relationship between architecture and journey: Atlas of Emotion: Journeys in Art, Architecture and Film, by Giuliana Bruno, a deep insight on the history of vision, roaming through photography, cinema, geography and architecture, and The Situationist City by Simon Sadler, a history of the Situationist Movement and psychogeography applied to the city.
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