to be tempted of the devil.
And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights,
he was afterward an hungred.
“They walked the whole night and all the next day too from morning till evening, but they did not get out of the forest, and were very hungry, for they had nothing to eat but two or three berries, which grew on the ground. And as they were so weary that their legs would carry them no longer, they lay down beneath a tree and fell asleep.”
Hansel and Gretel, The Brothers Grimm
Then signboards and street names, passers-by, roofs, kiosks, or bars must speak to the wanderer like a cracking twig under his feet in the forest, like startling call of a bitten in the distance, like the sudden stillness of a clearing with a lily standing erect at its center.”
– Walter Benjamin
Conceived of most urbanites as workaholic sleepwalkers, lost in an endless ‘metro-boulot-dodo’ or ‘subway-work-sleep’ routine.
Their initiatives included the “Dérive,” a “drifting” walk through urban space during which one could seek the unexpected, freedom from bureaucratic control, and a dream up a utopic projection of an alternate reality.
In 1969, Vito Acconci staged “Follow Piece” as a public intervention executed daily over one month. It involved following one randomly chosen stranger through the streets of New York until he or she entered a private location.
As Acconci described it, “I am almost not an ‘I’ anymore; I put myself in the service of this scheme.”
Some examples: “Honour thy error as a hidden intention.” “Use an old idea”, “State the problem in words as clearly as possible.” “Only one element of each kind.” “What would your closest friend do?” “What to increase? What to reduce?” “Are there sections? Consider transitions.” “Try faking it!” “Ask your body” “Work at a different speed”
Every card features an object or situation that one might encounter, and a simple action that should be performed at that point.
Enter an origin and a destination, and the app provides several possible routes and directions of varying complexity. As you navigate your route, suggestions for possible actions at certain locations appear, including step-by-step directions, designed to introduce “small slippages and minor displacements.” Designed to help you “maintain consciousness” in a sentient urban environment of the near future.