Jinny's Tonic No. 6

Dr Sam Cooper

Psychogeography Today: Aimless Wandering as Creative Practice

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Tonic No. 6 - Dr Sam Cooper

Sam Cooper is the author of The Situationist International in Britain, a book about European radicalism and its impact on British culture.

The Situationist International was a group of artists and thinkers, active in the heady days of 1960s Paris. Through publications, exhibitions, artworks and public stunts, the Situationists shone a spotlight on what they called “the society of the spectacle.” As modern life had sunk into passive spectatorship, the Situationists wanted to create more exciting, more passionate ways of engaging with the world around us.

robinson in space Video - What did the Situationists Ever Do for Us?

One Situationist activity was “psychogeography,” which they defined as “the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organised or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals.” In practice, this meant playful, sometimes anarchic, drifting through the urban environment, exploring the human experience of place.


Over the past fifty years, psychogeography has permeated British culture, from writing to filmmaking, urban planning to psychology, music to commerce.

Sam will suggest that directionless wandering – whether literal, on foot, or more metaphorical journeying – can still create the liberating effects the Situationists desired.


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