Monday, April 7, 2008

thoughts of a manytype dérive

[ ==@@@ Junajpu :: Thirteen Marksman ]

In weather of Beautytype, I did leave my apartment for a wandering. I walked & looked & contemplated what I saw. I experienced th flow of feet. I saw people, dogs, buildings, bodies, vehicles, hairstyles, advertisements, relationships. I saw a plastic cup of an ambiguous yellow liquid w/ several flies squirming about at th surface, sitting on a grate next to a tree. I heard conversations, alarms, buses. I attempted different meditations: to think "in th here & now," trying not to conceive of th past or th future; to focus on everything; to focus on nothing; to think of humans as things; to think of humans as individuals endowed w/ their own consciousness & to try to think their thoughts; to allow landmarks of interest to pull me in like a magnet or repel me in contrary directions. I generally tried to experiment w/ th possibilities inherent in "taking a walk."

I wouldn't automatically call my walk a dérive, but I'd certainly say that th concept of th dérive inspired it. Th wanderthink nature of th walk ended when I found my good friend George just getting off work & we proceeded to togethrenjoy Spring w/ conversation, Lake Michigan, ferns, beers, & tacos.

So I got to thinking about a more "organized" multi-human dérive of soorts. Th goal: to actively recreate th world & immediate environment in a mythistorcal manner; to reject th Objective & th Subjective in favor of th Divinely Absurd; to live an original story.

By 'mythistorical,' I refer to an approach of creating history & mythology together, as one indivisible way of seeing & reporting. Th events 'happen' & they do not 'happen'. They have one foot in Earthly doings & one foot in Chaos. After all, our own History belongs to us, so let us shift it toward th Divinely Absurd - into Mythistory, into Epic Poetry, into th songs of Bards & Druids.

Given that, what could we Do & how could we Do it? I thought of ways of organizing time & activities & came up w/ these basic roles:

Th mediator strives to remain "in th present moment," engaging w/ th world & environment unencumbered by items or particular tasks. This person has th freedom to start conversations w/ strangers, bring th party in new directions, sing songs, recite Shakespeare, or basically do anything that seems best in bringing forth a direct mythistorical catharsis. Of course, just quietly walking & observing fall w/i th sphere of th mediator as well. Th mediator does "nothing in particular."

Th mythistorian takes notes on all that goes, filling pages in a given notebook w/ a chaotic & quirky narrative. Ey attempts to apply mythological, poetic, subjective, symbolic, personal significance to th events of th day by whatever methods seem best. Anything that makes an appearance in th consciousness of th mythistorian may have a place in th pages of th mythistorian's notebook.

Th cartographer we can think of as an extension of th mythistorian. This person creates idiosyncratic maps of th routes taken, including th "significant" landmarks encountered, relating them on paper in a personal way for th unfolding of th story. Th cartographer may identify "zones" of certain types & discover new ways of recreating ideas about space. They may make their maps beautiful, strange, & of course very personal. In Situationist jargon, th cartographer applies eir thinking to psychogeography.

Th timekeeper determines th lengths of blocks of time which divide th day. Each block goes between 15 & 45 minutes, th exact length either chosen at whim or using random methods. Th timekeeper sets some sort of timer (egg timer, stopwatch, cell phone, what have you). After each block, th timer will sound an alarm to indicate a transition point.

At th end of each block, dérivers change roles & specific ritualistic actions take place, eg. a song performed, a poem recited, a mark made on th sidewalk, a gift given to a stranger, etc. When one or more dérivers enter a building, th timekeeper must stop th clock. Th transitions must occur on th street.

This list implies a group of four people, but we could have fewer or more. Th mythistorian can merge w/ th cartographer. Th mediator can merge w/ th timekeeper. We can easily have more than one mediator (they could interact & create experimental dialog). More than one mythistorian would provide us w/ alternative mythistories to compare. & of course, we can create different roles (perhaps a gift-giver, who collects items along th way to paste together to create artifacts to share w/ passersby).

Th notebooks of th mythistorian & th cartographer would become available for th group's perusal later (or anyone's, for that matter) on th internet. These documents would serve as th only surviving information about th dérive after its completion (outside of th memories of th participants & perhaps their reflective writings, if they choose to reflect). Thus, participants could relive th dérive only in a mythistorical manner & those involved could create th dérive in their imagination only in a mythistorical manner. Indeed, in these later (re)creations of th dérive, a more purely mythistorical perspective we could achieve.

This idea may differ enough from th classic dérive that we ought to find another name for it. Mythwander?

I have a handful of people already in mind for this kind of Doing. I think we'd shoot for a Saturday or Sunday & attempt to go at least from mid-morning to dusk. It would probably work best w/ two to five people. If this thrills you, do send a message. We would most likely do this in Chicago, but we could conceivably make a trip to some other city in th general area. Maybe we'd hop up to Wisconsin or over to Indiana.

This kind of thing would probably work best if we do it more than once. Of course, each mythwander would produce a different adventure. We could arrange to do it monthly or biweekly, w/ a rotating cast of characters based on individual availability. If you'd like yr name in th hat for this, as I said, do send a message.

Alright, I've said enough about this for now. It only remains to actually Happen. Let us make it.


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