‘Psychogeography in Manchester’ // Courtesy of Sophie Wagner, Vimeo, 2013.
“Unfold the street map [of Manchester], place a glass, rim down, anywhere on the map, and draw round its edge. Pick up the map, go out into the city, and walk the circle, keeping as close as you can to the kerb. Record the experience as you go, in whatever medium you favour: film, photograph, manuscript, tape. Catch the textual run off of the streets; the graffiti, the branded litter, the snatches of conversation. Cut for sign. Log the data stream. Be alert to the happenstance of metaphors, watch out for visual rhymes, coincidences, analogies, family resembles, the changing moods of the street. Complete the circle, and the record ends. Walking makes for content; footage for footage.”
(Robert McFarlane, ‘A Road of One’s Own’
‘Psychogeography in Manchester’ feels like fieldwork rather than a film with artistic value. It does however, abide by psychogeographical ‘laws’, and consists of a group of flâneurs researching a randomly selected suburb of Manchester. They stop strangers in the street and ask “how does this place make you feel? They wander aimlessly, all the while filming their discoveries and responses. People of all ages, of varying ethnicities and nationalities provide their thoughts.
The use of two cameras, both with external microphones provides a pleasant combination of different angles. Ambient audio is recorded along side spoken word, which works effectively.
Overall, this piece has an educational value to it, and feels like fieldwork for an anthropological piece. There is a clear grounding in psychogeography however, and the variety of people ‘interviewed’ provides engaging viewing.