“The people who design the streets in Hong Kong ignore the need for seating areas, so people in the neighborhood put some furniture they don’t need to good use”
Everything is designed according to a standard formula that doesn’t take into account the unique qualities of a given area. But in traditional urban fabric, “the configuration of space was developed gradually by people through time,” she says. “It allows [people in] the neighbourhood to express the way they want the space to be.”
One thing the pair noticed when studying abandoned furniture was the type of person who uses it: old. With the notable exception of teenagers, says Chan, young people just don’t engage with the city in the same way. “Maybe they like staying at home because they pay all their salary towards it,” she says. “I’m like an old guy — I like to take a newspaper or some food and enjoy the wind and air.”
“Psychogeography: a beginner’s guide. Unfold a street map of London, place a glass, rim down, anywhere on the map, and draw round its edge. Pick up the map, go out into the city, and walk the circle, keeping as close as you can to the curve. Record the experience as you go, in whatever medium you favour: film, photograph, manuscript, tape. Catch the textual run-off of the streets: the graffiti, the branded litter, the snatches of conversation. Cut for sign. Log the data-stream. Be alert to the happenstance of metaphors, watch for visual rhymes, coincidences, analogies, family resemblances, the changing moods of the street. Complete the circle, and the record ends. Walking makes for content; footage for footage”.
“Psychogeography is a practice that rediscovers the physical city through the moods and atmospheres that act upon the individual.
Perhaps the most prominent characteristic of psychogeography is the activity of walking. The act of walking is an urban affair, and in cities that are increasingly hostile to pedestrians, walking tends to become a subversive act.
The psychogeographer is a “non-scientific researcher” who encounters the urban landscape through aimless drifting, experiencing the effects of geographical settings ignored by city maps, and often documenting these processes using film, photography, script writing, or tape. In this way, the wanderer becomes alert to the metaphors, visual rhymes, coincidences, analogies, and changing moods of the street”.