Aesthetic practices of psychogeography and photography

In this paper, Emma Arnold explores the potential of psychogeographic walking and urban photography for conducting critical urban research.


Psychogeographic walking and urban photography as aesthetic practices are intuitive, sensory methods for exploring and capturing diverse facets of the city. Aesthetic practices are more than just sensory methods of exploration—they are also importantly connected to performing and making art.

Using examples from a study on the aesthetic implications of zero tolerance policy against graffiti in Oslo, this paper considers what these methods reveal about the city. The paper argues that this methodology has potential for studying varied topics that might benefit from the unanticipated encounters that arise with psychogeography and the visual record produced with photography.

Walking brings the researcher into contact with the materialities and rhythms of the city, allowing insight into its spatial and temporal variations. Encounters with these variations and materialities can reveal how urban space is used and by whom. The playful and artistic dimensions of these practices make them inductive and revelatory methods for studying the city.

The paper concludes by suggesting that such practices encourage new ways of looking at the city and have potential for exploring the aesthetic politics of cities.


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Published Jan. 2, 2019 10:32 AM - Last modified Jan. 2, 2019 10:33 AM