Posted: November 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

IAN PARKER TALK AND BOOK LAUNCH – REVOLUTIONARY KEY WORDS FOR A NEW LEFT

Wednesday 13 December from 6pm-8pm in the Harold Wilson Building, ground floor, room 5 (HWG/05), University of Huddersfield. Map link here: https://www.hud.ac.uk/media/assets/document/maps/CampusMap.pdf

Ian Parker (academic, activist, analyst) will speak about his new book Revolutionary Keywords for a New Left with David Bollinger (psychogeographer).

Revolutionary Keywords for a New Left comprises short essays on fifty revolutionary keywords, each word being put to work on a contemporary political issue. With keywords ranging from academicisation to neoliberalism, from postcolonial to Zionism and with subjects including, Badiou, North Korea, sexual violence and Žižek, the book concludes with an essay mapping the development of progressive keywords before our century of revolution, which began in 1917, keywords that emerged in the fifty years of struggle between 1917 and 1967, and revolutionary keywords for the new left today. Revolutionary Keywords is an exercise in critical applied discourse analysis.

Revolutionary Keywords for a New Left is published by Zero Books. More info here: http://www.zero-books.net/books/revolutionary-keywords-new-left

To book your place for the talk and book launch then please contact Alex Bridger at: a.j.bridger@hud.ac.uk

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David Bollinger and Fenella Brandenberg are world leading psychogeographers! If you want to find out more about their work do come to the Fourth World Congress of Psychogeography at Heritage Quay from the 8-10th September. Further details available at: http://4wcop.org

Walking to Waterloo

Posted: June 19, 2015 in Uncategorized

I’ve been researching the battle of Waterloo, the Napoleonic Wars and also learning about wargaming for the past couple of months. So on the 18th June 2015 I decided to combine my interests with political history, wargaming and psychogeography by doing a dérive in the ‘other’ Waterloo in Huddersfield. The point of such a walk is not to glorify war but rather to commemorate it as well as to use the practice of ludic walking as a way to explore the contemporary social context of neoliberalism. I’m not arguing here for a straight cut and paste of situationism into my practice of walking, but rather to use this blog as a ‘vehicle’ for extending how and whether situationist ideas and any other political ideas and practices can be drawn on in relation to consider and critique the conditions of neoliberalism and to work out what social changes can and should be made.

I started by finding out how many other Waterloos there were in the UK. From my search on the Wikipedia site I think it mentioned that there were 18 other Waterloos in the UK – with the one that most people know about as being Waterloo train station in London. So after an exam board at work I decided to head to Waterloo in Huddersfield. The British flag was flying at full mast at the University of Huddersfield which I assumed was to mark the anniversary of the battle of Waterloo where many lives were sadly lost.

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I programmed in Waterloo into my Tomtom sat-nav and headed to Waterloo Road. When I arrived there it was actually quite difficult to park on that street and so I parked around the corner. Round another corner I found a medical centre and a pub named after Waterloo.

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The surrounding roads were incredibly busy and it wasn’t the most comfortable place in which to walk. It felt like being trapped in a  sea of cars that were blocking possible ways in which to explore the environment. I think that the point of a dérive should be to explore the affective resonances of places and where we feel drawn towards and away from and I was clearly aware of the smell of car fumes and car noises. And so I continued walking and decided to walk down Waterloo Road and came across some interesting road markings.

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With my wargaming psychogeographical ‘hat’ on, I interpreted these markings as skirmish units on a giant Kriegsspiel board. For those readers not familiar with some of the terms just used, I refer here to Debord’s version of Kriegsspiel. For readers interested in learning more about that game, they may wish to check out the wonderful website hosted by the Class War-games collective at: http://www.classwargames.net/?p=1636. So I then proceed to with the walk and went down another road and was met by a rather interesting sign that indicated ‘NO HORSE RIDING’.

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How could the cavalry come through if horses were not allowed?! Maybe this was a deliberate addition of a new rule to confer particular advantage or not to the other troops? I felt curious about what was behind the horse sign and decided to walk into the wilderness of Waterloo.

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Low and behold I had found the lines of communication! Debord explains in his account of the Kriegspiel game, that the lines of communication are important as a means to gain advantage over one’s opponents and ultimately in order to overthrow them. And so I continued onwards and arrived at a bridge which led to somewhere!

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At this point I’d been walking for about an hour and began to feel hunger so decided to head back home! Here ends the dérive report.

 

As part of a series of events in relation to the World Congress of Perambulatory Sutures, two very special events took place – the Class Wargames collective hosted a participatory performance of Debord’s Game of War at the University of Huddersfield on the 13th May and the first of several book launch events for an edited collection of psychogeographical essays in Richardson’s forthcoming book Walking Inside Out: Contemporary British Psychogeography took place at the University of Leeds on the 14th May.

At the first event, the Huddersfield Psychogeographical Network gave a warm welcome to Class Wargames comrades Richard Barbrook and Fabian Tompsett who then introduced the proceedings which was then followed by a short film about Debord’s Game of War and then by a participatory performance of the game. The Huddersfied Psychogeographical Network were very keen to invite the Class Wargames collective up to to Huddersfield in order to learn how to play the game and also to gleam new tactics to enable revolutionary social change! We also wanted to meet Richard and Fabian having read many of their excellent articles and books over the years via the London Psychogeographical Association and other texts such as Class Wargames:Ludic Subversion Against Spectacular Capitalism, Imaginary Futures and various other publications by Unpopular Books. The Huddersfield Psychogeographical Network were also interested to learn more about some of the core ideas of the Class Wargames collective including: exploring gaming as a metaphor for exploring social relations under neoliberalism; creating spaces for people to meet and enage in ludic activity and also to reenact proletarian struggles in ludic ways. Many people interested in the work of the situationists usually focus on their phase of activity where they conducted and wrote about psychogeography and urban drifting. However, the later phase of Debord’s work actually takes quite a different ‘turn’ and he positions himself as a strategist rather than as a philosopher and decides to design a political board game. Debord indicates that:

‘I have studied the logic of war. Moreover, I succeeded, a long time ago, in presenting the basics of its movements as a board game: the forces in contention and the contradictory necessities imposed on the operations of each of the two parties. I have played the Game of War, and, in the often difficult conduct of my life, I have utilised lessons from it – I have also set myself the rules of the game for this life, and I have followed them. On the question of whether I have made good use of such lessons, I will leave to others to decide’ (Debord – Panegyric).

The Class Wargames collective indicated at the event in Huddersfield that this wasn’t just a game but that it was actually a guide to how people should live their lives with contemporary society. So ‘by playing this Clausewitz simulator, revolutionary activists could learn how to fight and win against the oppressors of spectacular society’. The Huddersfield Psychogeographical Network agree wholeheartedly with the Class Wargames collective and with Debord’s arguments here! So on that note we did as Debord did and drank wine, discussed political strategy and considered new tactics for revolutuonary social change vis a vis the Battle of Marengo scenario as played out on the board.

 

Lest we forget to mention, there was a special guest appearance by David Bollinger, Director of the West Yorkshire Association for Psychogeography at the Class Wargames event at the University of Huddersfield. His contribution was vital to enabling the Austrians to win the battle of Marengo, thus turning history ‘on its head’ and preventing the French from winning!

The second event was organised by Tina Richardson, Executive and Chief of the Leeds Psychogeographical Group in order to launch the book publication of an edited collection of essays by psychogeographers in the United Kingdom. The book is due to be released in July 2015 and is titled Walking Inside Out: Contemporary British Psychogeography. Many psychogeographers from across the globe attended the launch, including Fabian Tompsett from the London Psychogeographical Association, several members of the Huddersfield Psychogeographical Network such as Alex Bridger, Leeds Psychogeographers including Tim Waters and Tina Richardson and also Parisian psychogeographers that had flown over from France to attend! This indeed was a grand World Congress of epic proportions! Tina Richardson started the proceeedings by giving an overview of what the book was all about and by reading selected extracts from the book chapters. Then Alex Bridger presented a selected reading from his chapter on anti-psychology, psychogeography and social change. Then followed some questions, a brief campus drift and an excursion into the University bar!

The Huddersfield Psychogeographical Network concur with Richardson’s account of the World Congress proceedings that the ‘geographical concentration of these two events this week’ has ‘probably shifted psychogeographical ley lines across the UK’. Though if the lines have shifted then where is psychogeography now   and what does it look like?  More writings to follow on this question  – watch this blog!

If you are interested in reading more about this World Congress, then please check out Comrade Richardson’s account at the following website: http://particulations.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/the-world-congress-of-perambulatory.html

Question: How does one ‘do’ deconstruction and detournement without it becoming simply an academic enterprise?
Answer: Laibach !!! What’s interesting about this metal/industrial/rock German band is their use of situationist strategies such as detournement and provocation and also their discursive deconstruction of ideas such as nation state, capitalism and immigration – for more info check out Parker’s work on ‘Micronations of the self in times of war’ in the Psychology after discourse analysis book – interesting reading 🙂     Some really interesting concepts and ideas here which i want to develop in some future work!

 

The monkey magic walk

Posted: July 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

Many moons ago there existed a broadly psychogeographical group called the bored in the city collective. They were a group of radical academics, artists and activists from Manchester, Stockport and Huddersfield. They used to do lots of random things like burying time capsules, lunar water walks and undertaking political studies of gentrification of towns and cites. They took their inspiration from such people as the situationists, Baudelaire and de Quincey. Here is an account of one of their drifts which they did in July 2007.

Members of the bored in the city collective and friends met outside the Palace Theatre on Oxford Road, Manchester. There was no set plan other than to simply wander towards the remains of an old Roman Fort. A poem was recited to begin the drift which went something like this:

This is the monkey magic walk
We are monkeys
Monkeys are real situationists
Monkeys are real psychogeographers
Monkeys have fun
Monkey goes where monkey wants
Monkey climbs trees
Monkey finds bananas and a peach
If you find the peach of immortality from the Jade Emperor’s Heavenly Garden and if you take one bite, then you will be granted immortality forever.
Let’s begin the walk!

So the walk began. Fortunately we were armed with some bananas and a peach which is essential food for magic monkeys. One of the group members had recently bought a Holga camera and some of the photos here were taken with that machine. These cameras often create unpredictable effects on photographic images.

So we walked toward the Roman Fort and came across the infamous Beetham Tower, otherwise know as the Hilton Hotel and also the site of the Shaping levitation of that building.

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This photo shows not only the Beetham Tower which is visible to human eyes but also reveals two other ghostly replicas of the same building.

And so we moved onwards and found the Roman Fort. There we found another replica of the Beetham Tower.

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At the end of the walk, one of the group members ate a peach from the Emperor Jade’s Heavenly Garden. We think that this person has now been granted eternal immortality.

We concluded the drift by walking to the car park for Romans.

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Language, power and politics

Posted: July 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

Poetry is a knife that cuts language up
Language uses rules which poetry breaks

Language is a stake
We use language and language uses us

Language is a power
A power to use and a power to abuse

Who has the ‘right’ to use language?
Whose language has more status?

Politicians love language
They know language’s rules
And how to ‘bend’ language
To make it suit their aims
To keep their power

They hide from truth
But truth is too good for them
We know their lies