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:
Longing for the poultry-farm experience? Afraid of live animals?
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