Occasional despatches from the Fife Psychogeographical Collective. Field trips and wanderings in liminal spaces … mapping the interstices of past, present and possible …
From the Kingdom and beyond …
The great sites of psychogeographic exploration have perhaps not surprisingly tended to privilege the urban environment with London and Paris the primary lodestones of psychogeographic endeavour.
Taking a lead from Patrick Geddes, the great polymath, regional theorist, activist and (as yet, unacknowledged) proto-psychogeographer, the FPC believe that both urban and rural environments are mutually constitutive and therefore equally valid as spaces for psychogeographic wanderings.
What better a site than Fife? A virtual island interzone, betwixt and between the cities of Edinburgh and Dundee; an ancient Pictish Kingdom, bounded by the Firths of Forth and Tay. Where a New Town is built on a 4,000 year old henge and 18 feet menhirs brood on a ladies golf course, under the shadow of Largo Law. Not far away, the statue of Alexander Selkirk, gazes out, projecting his own haunting presence into the psychogeographic mindscape. If Selkirk was the inspiration for Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, it is the ghost of Robinson who wanders and stalks through many a tract of the psychogeographic imagination. Witness Rimbaud’s supposedly derived verb robinsonner (to travel mentally, or let the mind wander) or the unseen and unheard researcher in Patrick Keiller’s films London and Robinson in Space.
Ideas crackle, tussle and fizz, throughout the ether over this Scottie dogs heid:
Kirkcaldy’s famous son Adam Smith tossed a large brick into the pool of economic theory with a Wealth of Nations (and let us not forget A Theory of Moral Sentiments) written on a site now housing Greggs the Bakers. The self-interest of the baker to supply us with Steak Bakes is alive and well. (The debate as to whether Smith, the moral philosopher, has been hijacked by the right will be left for another day). There is also a hauntology of radical socialism. In Cowdenbeath, Lawrence Storione founded the Anarchist Communist League and West Fife elected Willie Gallacher as the first Communist MP. In Lumphinnans you will find Gagarin Way, a street tagged in honour of the Soviet cosmonaut and from which Gregory Burke named his first play.
Concrete hippos and dinosaurs traverse the urban landscape in Glenrothes; cup and ring marks lie mute on Binn Hill whilst a green witch’s shop sits on the high street of Aberdour to deliver up soothing potions to the contemporary unwell. A secret bunker channels cold war paranoia and the devil is reputedly buried on Kirkcaldy beach, interred by the occult energies of the dark magus Michael Scot.
These are just a few random scatterings from this space of possibilities. ‘A beggar’s mantle fringed with gold’… a palimpsest of histories and vibrations. A site for exploration.
Inspiration from the patron saints and goddesses:
Patrick Geddes, Henry Thoreau, John Cage, Rebecca Solnit, Walter Benjamin, Georges Perec, Julian Cope, Guy Debord, Bill Drummond, Giles Deleuze, Joseph Beuys, Alan Moore, Sophie Calle, Victor Branford, Colin Ward, Patti Smith, Franz Kafka, Herman Melville, Robert Walser, Cornelius Cardew, Kenneth White, Gary Snyder, John Burnside, Don Paterson, Alan Warner, Italo Calvino, John Rebus, J.G. Ballard, Mark E. Smith, Lao Tzu, Paul Auster, Kathleen Jamie, Albert Camus, Werner Herzog, Lewis Mumford, Peter Kropotkin, Keith Jenkins, Yi-Fu Tuan, Richard Rorty, Laurie Anderson, Joe Sacco, Michel de Certeau, Morton Feldman, Eliane Radigue, La Monte Young, Jean-Claude Eloy, Tom Verlaine, Samuel Beckett, Phillipe Petit, Marjane Satrapi, Jah Wobble, Will Self, Iain Sinclair, Nick Papadimitriou and John Rodgers, Rainer Maria Rilke, Wim Wenders, Bela Tarr, Andrei Tarkovsky….
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