Wondering with empty stomachs, myself and Neal talk slowly as we traverse a foreign city. As we walk we arrive at a roundabout housing an ancient and magnificent fig tree. It stands within the artificial mass of the city, propping itself up by its many tentacles like a mirror opposite1 of a woodland clearing—a referential space, an incision into the other wise dense surrounds. It reminds us of the glorious splendour of the land before my unrelated relatives came and started to build. A process through which great ideologies have been placed upon this terra firma.

The buildings within our field of sight—are there any others?—slowly reveal a politic and a texture within their placement and construction. Across the roundabout between two roads leading to and from this spot, sits, in cocky fluro, a pub that we do not enter. Not that the pub is of dubious character, but the signals it sends tells us that this is a place for a different slice of society. Further round, maybe minus twenty degrees, lies the meshed hole of a building site entrance, within stands another monolith of the corporate sector, a place where many gather beneath the illuminated logo that signifies all that sits with in. The fig, in contrast to these two spaces, stands tall and proud, aware of its and its ancestors place within the laws and pathways of the indigenous people of these lands.

Within these streets we see a variation of time and period 2, from the new and un-constructed, to the past terraces and the lattice work that adorns them, giving face to the old colonies intentions. Offered in nearby windows are the future miniatures that will soon become giants, with their promise of lifestyle and place, these future buildings define the form of the new colonisation, and their argument for a better life. Dark sidings disappear between the buildings, creating dank voids where those that enter do so with risk and intrigue.

Moving forward in a state of self loss 3, they attune to unseen pathways and the ambient unintended 5 of the city, the two men ‘let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there’ (Theory of the Dérive, Published in Internationale Situationniste #2, 1958). Its from these attractions to the terrain that routes open for the men to follow. The aforementioned stills serve as memetic references to these routes and the collective consensus that has formed between the two, and within each.

During this period stills are taken away, digital representations that are stored on devices that offer no visual face. Can we argue that within this digital space, these stills are nothing, reduced to bytes, to common—technic societal—data. Its not that they are nothing, but the bytes that make up the whole do not represent the whole until they are re-formed and interacted with by outside entities. Through our interaction with the city, we perform a similar process, through the reference and drawing of past experience, we weave our own fabric into the image that lies in front.

The two people that we see drifting through the city create an ephemeral stream of image reflection behind them. As they notice new avenues and signs, these images are feed back into the consciousness through a generative loop of reflection and interpretation, creating a reading of the situation in relation to the themes that have developed with each step. This image trail forms the fabric of the walk, an artefact that is both personal and collective, alternate threads belong to the singular whilst the interwoven structure gives itself to the plural.

This fabric is a process of continual weaving, as one pattern forms or a section of the fabric is deemed to be complete, it is re-woven. This process of re-weaving is not done from scratch, instead its a generative process of working in, through, over and around the threads that are already in place. That is not to say that threads will not dissolve and be lost, move or even meld with others.

Through these ‘soft’ attractions and the freedom with which they walked, this stroll turned into a dérive. This process has seen them remove the constraints and contracts that the dominant pathways 5 labour them with, turning their actions and movements away from strategy and into tactic (Certeau, Practice of everyday life). This shift sees them detour from the dominant and constructed pathways of the city, to poetic trajectories born through their engagement with the streets.

From here the city is theirs for the purpose that they have proposed, a proposal that has been born through a quite and whispered conversation with the city. On reference this conversation started out with the silent pause 6 that the fig tree created upon our meeting. It, as a reference point, became central to the shaping of the city and the cities shaping of us, and the subsequent conversations that formed there after.

Being open to ‘reference points’ sees the walker able to alter their agenda to reshape their work based on the things that they notice.



1. Mirror opposite [explain]

2. Time is witnessed through the ages of the buildings, and period is seen in their aesthetics and material construction.

3. Self loss [explain] : Stream of consciousness : A conscious state of the unconscious, as ... argues, a state of flow. It is in this state of flow that the individual engages with the tasks at hand in a rigourous and ... manor.

4. Ambient Unintended pause [explain] : First discovered in the essay Eric Satie, John Cage, Silence. Here Satre has proclaimed that we should not ignore the sound of the kitchen fork. As its these everyday things that add the unknown into the equation. Ambient : situation, Unintended : chance/potential

5. Dominant pathways [explain] : Solid states with in the city, they take us to and move us through the cities.

6. Silent pause [explain] : Think about Cage and silence, the space between notes.