I have never classed myself as a true psychogeographer but it has occurred to me that many of the activities associated with psychogeography do have connections to the methods I have been drawn to in my performance work and, with walking as a primary element in my work, it seems to be the closest approach that has been defined as an area of study.
With this in mind I have been actively seeking opportunities for me to present my work whenever such appropriate opportunities arise. The Fourth World Congress of Psychogeography was immediately attractive to me for a couple of reasons. First, the venues were located in my home county of Yorkshire in the UK, and secondly I noticed that a number of notable figures within the field of psychogeography were either presenting work or initiating events and activities.
I secured a time-slot between 12:00-12:30pm on Friday 6th September to present a live-stream performance to an assembled audience of around 60 people who had gathered in the Oastler Building of Huddersfield University. This was an opportunity for me to enact a new episode of my on-going saga 'No holiday', this time conducted in the centre of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) Vietnam, on the wide 'walking street' Nguyễn Huệ.
Originally the Kinh Lon canal that allowed goods to be brought from the Saigon River, into the heart of the city, it was renamed the Charter Canal from around 1861. The canal was subsequently filled in in 1887 and turned into a boulevard in the late 19th century and early 20th century. The boulevard grew increasingly busy until April 2015, when it was converted into a pedestrian street.
An introduction was made to the assembled audience at Huddersfield University before the live-stream broadcast commenced and I began my walk.
Beginning at 6:00pm (Vietnam time) my walk took me down the northwestern edge of the street, walking towards the river until I reached the busy Đường Tôn Đức Thắng road at which point I turned and made my way up the centre of Nguyễn Huệ, past the joggers, the students, young couples, hawkers, tourists and street performers.
During the walk dusk arrived and the lighting on the street changed dramatically. Early in the walk it began raining but luckily despite the forecast of heavy rain, it lifted and allowed me to continue walking unencumbered by the umbrella.
The performance went well and, according to the organisers, was well received back in the UK. I always hope that audiences can relax, suspend their expectations and enjoy the meditative walk with me, wherever I happen to be in the world.
It was a great honour for me to be a participant of the Congress and I thank the organisers for allowing me to showcase my work in this way.
The Congress website can be found here.
The full conference programme can be viewed here.
A recording of the live-stream performance can be viewed here on my YouTube Channel.
A full playlist of 'No holiday' performances can be viewed here.
One-page Congress Programme
Recording of live-stream performance