Monday, June 29, 2015

On genuinely getting lost

Go to the next bus stop.
Take the next bus.

With directions like these can travelers explore the city, coincidentally discovering places no tourist has ever seen or even known. Gamified traveling : Detours increase the knowledge of a place.

Nowadays you only rarely see them; tourist awkwardly handling a battered city-map bending in the wind, searching for north/south guaranteed storming off in the wrong direction.

This is without a doubt the 21st century. Today satellites are supporting our travels steered by the global positioning system. The art of genuinely getting lost has become a dying trade.

But now is the time for a change. Now is the time for a counter movement. Now is the time to get lost. And groups like the Flaneur Society are following this trend.The problem is with all information readily available through the smart-phone, we are experiencing space and time only indirectly.

But genuinely getting lost takes some practice.

And like most activities, it is most fun if you make a game out of it.

Get off after 12 stops
After getting off, turn left.

Take your time. Sit down once in a while and look around. Write down what you see. How it feels.
The modern flaneur is a human being who aimlessly lingers overlaying the inner nothingness with a multitude of impressions.

If you see a guy in glasses turn around

“Not to find one's way around a city does not mean much. But to lose one's way in a city, as one loses one's way in a forest, requires some schooling. Street names must speak to the urban wanderer like the snapping of dry twigs, and little streets in the heart of the city must reflect the times of day, for him, as clearly as a mountain valley. This art I acquired rather late in life; it fulfilled a dream, of which the first traces were labyrinths on the blotting papers in my school notebooks.”
                                      ― Walter Benjamin, Berlin Childhood around 1900

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