Curator: Daniel Muzyczuk
A lecture and a walk in Gdańsk by Wilfried Hou Je Bek (12 – 13 April 2006)
One of the best known specialists in psychogeography Wilfried Hou Je Bek from Utrecht will give a lecture and take a walk in Gdansk. A generative psychogeographical walk only has a direction but no destination. There are no good or bad results, only the results you come back with. That's why failure is impossible. On the other hand it must always fail because the city never fully complies with the demands of the algorithm. But it doesn't matter. What is important is to practice this art of being in between.
The art of walking as an art work helps us find a life which is filled with poetry. Walking which has no purpose but beauty is close to art, because of the fact that both are useless, but beautiful. A derive can make us sensitive to the unconscious appeal of the city. Can create a city which is a never-ending adventure and which can surprise us time after time and so on, endlessly. And so psychogeography as a method of perceiving and sensing the city is very close to new art in public spaces, because it creates a new space, which has nothing to do with common spaces, with new impressions and new ideas about social and political issues of public space. It can tear us out from the daily routine and give us a chance to see places which are well know to us in a different way.
Street Haunting :: Mental Objects
[An Experiment in Psychogeography]
Psychogeography researches the fractal line inner nature and the behavioral external forms of the human experiences that betray the instinctive reaction of the human mind to a landscape. There are various ways to do this, but in our brand new series of psychogeographic walks we will be street haunting mental objects. In the tradition of Francis Galtons classic psychometric experiments. In the late 19th century Galton made short strolls, gazing for small periods at random objects, following their trajectory through the neuronic pathways of his brain, hoping to unravel the parallelism of the mind, wanting to gain an insight on its working behind the facade of consciousness. 
A mental object is the general name for the sum of associations in mind (on its stage and in its antechambers) and while haunting the streets we will be haunting for inner excitement. 
>From the Ancient Greek school of peripatetic (meaning: rambling on foot) philosophers have always regarded the walk to be psychoactive: the pace of walking corresponding to the beat of the heart, generating (perhaps) the much sought after alpha state of the Gysin/Burroughs Dream Machine. Psychogeographers think about walking and they walk to think. 
Psychogeography as cognitive theory by the pedestrian underground? Yes!
Psychogeography as experiment in creating mental patterns more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace? Yes! 
Psychogeography as brainwave analysis and brainwave construction? Yes!
Psychogeography as a special instrument of vision to understand how spaces and places work? Yes! 
"I walked leisurely along Pall Mall, a distance of 450 yards, during which time I scrutinized with attention every successive object that caught my eyes, and I allowed my attention to rest on it until one or two thoughts had arisen through direct association with that object; then I took very brief mental note of them, and passed on to the next object. I never allowed my mind to ramble. The number of objects viewed was, I think, about 300, for I have subsequently repeated the same walk under similar conditions, and endeavoring to estimate their number, with that result. It was impossible for me to recall in other than the vaguest way the numerous ideas that had passed through my mind; but of this, at least, I was sure, that samples of my whole life had passed before me, that many bygone incidents, which I never suspected to have formed part of my stock of thoughts, had been glanced at as objects too familiar to awaken the attention. I saw at once that the brain was vastly more active than I had previously believed it to be, and I was perfectly amazed at the unexpected width of the field of its everyday operations." 
Francis Galton
Wilfried Hou Je Bek
Wilfried Hou Je Bek left school at 16 to become both a writer and a squatter. Under the moniker of he has organized countless of psychogeographical walks all over the world. Currently he is developing a “little language” for psychogeography that allows everybody to record & share experiences of urban space. Recent commissions include work for the city of Dordrecht, Psy Geo Conflux (New York), the PixelACHEfestival (Helsinki), RAM5 (Riga), Urban Festival (Zagreb), Urban Drift (Berlin). In 2004 he won the Transmediale software art prize for .walk, a futuristic project for open space that transforms cities into computers.
Municipal Institution of Culture