Week 6-7 Peer commissioned micro-project: Psycho-Anatidae

For week 6-7, I had the opportunity to assign- and be assigned- a micro-project to complete this week by my classmate. I assigned my classmate the exercise of creating a psycho-geography around her home. Interestingly, she assigned me the same thing, however, with a creative twist: to follow my poultry exploring the world as they do.

What is a psycho-geography?

In Situationist Guy Dubord‘s 1955 essay Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography, he defined psychogeography as “the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behaviour of individuals.” Put simply, psychogeography is the exploration of the psychological effects of an urban environment.

Ridgway, M. (2014). An introduction to psycho-geography. The Double negative. Accessed:

The term “psycho-geography” does not apply to my assignment if I use the definition listed above. It seems to me that the rural landscape preceded the urban, therefore, the term should apply to exploring the countryside as well. I searched the term “rural psycho-geography” and found a book called Almias by Phil Legard, Layla Smith and Simon Bradley. It’s a wonderful read which describes the geography, history and mystery of Almscliff, a craggy outcrop in Yorkshire, UK. It is illustrated with creative photographs of the rocks and the immediate countryside.

What is a rural psycho-geography?

Legard, Smith and Bradley (2010) state that “The idea that psychogeography can apply to an environment which is not ‘consciously organised’ suggests that that, as with mundane geography, psychogeography can present broader arenas for exploration than solely urban space. As a discipline,geography itself is not solely about the urban, but also suggests further‘pleasingly vague’ branches of art and science  such as psychogeology , psychometeorology, psycho-  politics , and so on.

Legard, P., Smith, L., Bradley, S. (2010). Almias: Rural Psychogeography. accessed: https://www.academia.edu/6819099/Almias_Rural_Psychogeography_Book_

Pleasing vague branches or art and science seem like an invitation to a creative challenge, to me. My classmate related that she had had a bad experience with a mean goose and is, subsequently, afraid of geese. Most people that know I have geese relate that the geese (or chickens, ducks or other animals) are scary (mean, aggressive, terrible, etc). I haven’t had that experience. To me these critters are (mostly) delightful. They are my outdoor environment, my psycho-geography.

To better describe this phenomenon, I would like to propose a new term, psycho-Anatidae, which, after Guy Dubords essay would be “the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of an individual. Or, as Ridgway adds, the “exploration of the psychological effects of an [Anatidae] environment”. The Anatidae family comprises of over 40 sub-families of birds, include geese and ducks. The Anatidae environment, in my back yard, includes the trees, brook, grass, woods… and other Anatidae.

As this micro-project assignment was for me to record the (geography of) psycho-Anatidae (which I argue contains other Anatids), I dutifully followed my geese and ducks and recorded them from their (low) point of view. However, displaying these photos might be problematic as they could prompt feelings of discomfort with the subject matter (for the goose-phobic). I would like to display my work AND promote Anatids as lovely, approachable creatures. I created an alternative display mode and media:

Psycho-AnatidaeDecor ™

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Week 4: Collaboration

After reviewing the images and material that fellow class members uploaded since the start of week four, Ilya, Bekki and I decided to work together to create a micro-project. We felt that our strength as a group were our comfort with interaction and communication on Canvas and Whatsapp. We had noted that we all seem to be on the chat and the weekly tutoring webinars at the same time. Our second strength is that we have varied subject matter interests. We felt that, when combined, we had the opportunity for creating something interesting and different from our regular work.

On day 4 (Monday) of Week 4, we formed our group. Ilya created a group on Canvas where we could share files and talk about direction of the project. We communicated in both the discussion section of the Group, on Canvas, and via our own chat group on WhatsApp. After Ilya had returned from a meeting of a group whose work is bringing the problem of species extinction to the forefront, we made the decision to focus on the them of extinction for our micro project. We decided that we all would take some photos related to the theme and discuss a way forward the following day. Day 5 (Tuesday), we identified the most compelling images, one from each member. Bekkie put forth a moving poem about children growing up with restrictions on how children learn to not appreciate the wild. Ilya authored a poem about the rising sea levels and I located a poem about extinction. We met via Webinar: We decided as a group to produce a book- Each poem would have one photographic illustration. We worked together with power point to create a look we all liked. Bekkie turned our finished power point presentation into a publication, then realized that we may have copyright issues if we publicly display our product. Bekkie and Ilya put forth the idea of displaying via a powerpoint PDF, then creating a slide show in our own Critical Research Journals.

We will present our work during our weekly tutor webinar on day 6 of Week 4.

This content would be published as a square book with the poem and photograph featured as a two-page spread.

Webinar tutorial: We presented our work, Extinction, to our tutor and a group of our peers today. We received feedback that the our work was interesting and effective. If we had the time and were aiming to create a book, that we might have included more pictures, and perhaps, sized all the pictures the same.
I enjoyed viewing other team’s work and it’s amazing the complex and appealing products that were made in such a short amount of time. I suggested that we all should collaborate on a single piece.