Psicogeografía is a book and book project about urban walking, and coincides with the 60’s Debord explanation for what Psychogeography is: the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals. It takes place in Mexico City, though it is not about Mexico City.
It was that, I landed in Colonia Roma in Mexico City, in 2010. The book began on Calle Puebla 356, where I rented a small apartment. Work took me through La Roma on foot, and my immediate experience with the neighborhood and the people, the buildings, was ecstatic. What I was reading tied into what I was living, an occasion that is occasional, not always, but
in this case the two concrete and abstract worlds collided and moved together smoothly, elegantly, though also sometimes not so elegant, crude, misplaced. The concept became clear: ten poems for five colonias in Delegacion Cuauhtemoc.
The poems became documentation on the art the walk was. The poems became the structure of the city, and this meant also spacing became important. The urban environment has become our only environment, in many ways, and as such the structure of the poems, and the spacing of the poems, became and are a reflection of the streets and parks and dead zones this city, each city, has, and has to deal with. So the main poems of the book became place names, and were written in boxes, an attempt to block, the way streets do, perspectives, ideas, sensations. The poems became blocks of text, rooms, cellars, captions of the place they were written about. The parellel split screen of having two sides of text, like movie split screen, also meant that, like the city, and like the people in cities, ideas and conversations, and images and methaphors, got squeezed together, overlaying each other, like a typical Mexico City early morning commute in the metro green line south. Although it was difficult to get them published in literary magazines at first, at this point, of the forty main poems in boxes, thirty five have been published in four languages and six countries.
Immigration, foreignness, surveillance, inclusion/exclusion, the daily grind, again time and place, are all attributes inherent to psychogeography. It was my attempt to elicit them as they appeared to me, sometimes illicit and sometimes, like the streets, obvious, (ir)relevant, and pregiven. The book and the poems and the entire concept became and are an installation event that took place for me over a number of years in Mexico City, not an art museum installation piece, but an everyday installation project of concrete and occasional park green, trees and traffic lights.
-- Stephen Brown