West Riding of Yorkshire: a psychogeographical account
This is a pyschogeographical walk through 4 areas that span the old West Riding of Yorkshire, that has culminated from years of wandering and musing about the areas. These 4 areas are loosely centred around Leeds, Wakefield, Barnsley and Sheffield; both their connections and seperations. I'm trying to show what inhabiting these places /walking through these human landscapes feels like; and more importantly trying to look for alternative ways of representating these areas. All too often I find reality is massively cropped to take the more picturesque. I believe that a psychogeographical journey through places is incredibly important for understanding our real material conditions, and the changes to those material conditions that we are often distracted from acknowleding. I have chosen this area because it is a landscape I know better than any other.

The series works best as a slideshow, but there is also documentation that accompanies many of the images. To see the accompanying information with slideshow, click 'info' in top right corner of the screen.

This all related to a course I began, but couldn’t complete, in London, called Mapping Capitalism, and in particular theorist Fredric Jameson’s notion of cognitive mapping, as a modern means of class conciousness and awareness of our real material conditions, in the disorientating 21st century world governed by global financial capitalism. Informed by both the philosopher Althusser and the urbanist/town planner who used psychogeographical ideas to create better living environments, Kevin Lynch, Jameson argued that the “mental map of a city explored by Lynch can be extrapolated to that of the social and global totality we carry around in our heads in various garbled forms”. I travel often but regretably I don't often leave the 15 mile radius of my home that includes these areas of my focus. London was an anomoly which didn't work out, yet it allowed me to look at my landscape with new eyes.

If not to anyone else, I find this project deeply helpful. It’s like when I look back on what I have written the landscape reveals its true identity to me; something an A-Z or Google map could never do. It also made me realise that there is something to be gained conceptually from any walk. Not just a walk through the most tourist-friendly spots on earth. But I must ask myself why do this here and why now? Well, disparate issues seem to have come to a head and collided; personal reasons, such as memories, lost dreams, a coming of age that are all embedded in this landscape, are becoming entwined with deep concern about the changes happening in society at the moment; the increase of poverty, homelessness, unhappiness; that this tour through this area has socio-political motives, yet intending to have a softer touch, not to point fingures, stand in opposition but to look at the area in a way that I hope helps stoke new ways of thinking about these areas.

This landscape I know best more or less culminates around two railway lines; the Hallam and Penistone lines. I begin the the northern most point of this landscape of my mind which is Leeds city centre.
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