What is Continental Drift?

Psychogeography in its simple sense is recording the effects of the urban geographical environment on the emotions and behavior of individuals – the psychology of place. This in itself is not a new idea, poets and writers have been doing this for centuries – Charles Baudelaire and the concept of the flanuer, William Blake and Thomas De Quincey in London for example.

But the situationist theory and the name pyschogeography comes from a Paris based collective of radical artistes Letterist International – Guy Debord’s the Theory of the Derive in 1958 calls for action against the spectacle of late capitalism and all its forms. So the derive, or the drift, became the action – a transgression against the advertised commercial route, a tactic to reshape the dominant urban landscape.

Author Will Self, who had a regular column on pyschogeography in the London Independent defined the active protest aspect of the derive:

“Unstructured derives or drifts across the urban landscape cut across the predetermined routes of commercial necessity which were best defined by a graffito I once saw on a supermarket wall outside Yate in Somerset: Work Consume Die”.

Iain Sinclair in his brilliant and funny book about London “Lights out for the Territory” presents the pyschogeographer as watchman – reporting back from the territories where the pysche and city meet.

The term ‘continental drift’ is a geographical idea relating to the gradual movement of the continents across the earth’s surface through geological time.

Continental Drift records psychogeographic journeys through Sydney subterranea, and across the earth. Travel tips for the unusually situated. Making the familiar strange again. I hope you like it.

2 responses to “What is Continental Drift?

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