00000001. 010 Spring 2002 

vpa posse


L Blissett




Main Entry: 1 oc·cult Pronunciation: &-'k<, ä- Function: transitive verb Etymology: Latin occultare, frequentative of occulere Date: 1500 : to shut off from view or exposure : COVER, ECLIPSE - oc·cult·er noun

Shortly after the spring 2002 editorial for the Journal of Psychogeography (Volume 1. No. 2.) at psychogeography.co.uk was posted, the whole site was removed from public access and replaced with a picture of the word POTLACH. in that editorial, ppuk refer to an article by Richard Morrison (The Times, London, August 23 2001) and distance themselves from forms of psychogeography that the article refers to separately as a 'new religion' an 'industry' and 'big business'

I was always most interested in psychogeography as an 'unacceptable theory', as something that would be treated as invalid, particularly by those involved in academic and political discourses. However, having said this, psychogeography is becoming increasingly acceptable as a discursive formation within both academic geography and literary criticism. - Stewart Home: (see stewarthomesociety.org)

after our song and dance sessions prompted by ppuk´s launch of Psychogeography.co.uk Version 2.0 ("produced to provide a reliable source of information on matters directly pertaining to psychogeography" see emissions list) back in April 2001, we have seen the ppuk editorial staff going from a position of' "Stewart Home does not occupy our thoughts very much" (see emissions list); to demanding that Home be removed from a lecture room and then threatening to sue the university hosts when they write an apology email to the other participants (see no future conference), and then on to the postion of the last editorial where 'contemporary psychogeography' is being criticised for being 'fascinated' by the occult, using sinclair as a starting point, and then proceeding to talk about certain unnamed 'pamphlet profiteers'!!, ppuk construct a cardboard cut-out opponent: "whose radicalism really masks a disturbing form of base-conservatism". this unnamed bogie-man presumably is the dark dialectical twin to their own surface conservativeness which masks a new, exciting, invigorated radicalised and authentic psychogeography.

the problem is that it doesn't. and while i may find it very amusing that ppuk editor Ian Mckay has worked himself up into such a paranoiac frenzy as to think that Stewart Home wants to kill him, i don't think that either home or mckay enjoy such states of heightened paranoiac critical consciousness in the least bit, and serious questions are raised as to ppuk´s methods. And while Helen Scalway's article on the psychogeographical writings of Iain Sinclair was a real delight to read, stating that his works in this field are "tinged ... with a sense of closed meanings within an outworn politics of gender, class, race" is akin to saying that Valerie Solanis SCUM manifesto is a bit sexist! nihilism is not the mirror of critical rigour, it is the preconception of both reason and madness. The dialectic it forms with belief is overcome and therefore intimately bound by critical and dialectical methodology.

ppuk's dialectical dancing around the revolutionary and recuperative levels of psychogeography mark the development of psychogeographical discourse into a "new, meaningful, and wholly relevant" phase. this is not simply a case of academia versus bohemia: this is a dialectical overcoming of power as world capitalism approach its deadly conclusion.

"Only in transgressing the rules of the planned space can we really find our own meaning and space," said Mr McKay. "A good planner knows this and allows for this transgression of the plan by the individuals who have to live in the space. The good town planner may well be one not precious about the plan."

Simon Parker`s guardian article (Friday February 22, 2002) from which this quote is taken, ultimately fails to grasp what McKays statement implies. it is not a case of "power 2 the psychogeographers" as the title of the piece declares. In the past, power has manifested through the sacrificial burning at the stake, of people accused of being secret 'occultists´. power now manifests through direct / indirect mind control (mass media, medication) and economic sanctions before it needs to reveal itself through direct capture, bodily harm or murder. advanced capitalism has surely lead to an advanced psychogeography to whom there will be no power, only resistance.

The only mention of our methods of resistance, in the Guardian article, is this 1 line: "Some psychogeographical groups have also brought the occult into their study of the city, becoming obsessed with ley-lines and other new age gimmickry." The Times goes further in postulating that occult readings 'seem.. to be a way of helping people to put up with mundane or squalid surroundings by pretending that they have the mystical power of, say, Stonehenge.' the dismissive nature of these comments, which sentiments are echoed in the ppuk spring editorial, reveal how the media legitimises itself through the creation of its own antithetical pole. This psychogeographical layering of space and cyberspace is achieve by glossing over some things while highlighting others. anyone practising driftwork and streetpsychogeography will easily see that town planners (or artists, web designers and other ´media practitioners´) are implicated in the shaping the city through mediated institutional forms that affect the movements of workers; labourers, managers, corporations, tramps and all sorts of other bodies.

all talk of the occult is, of course, completely heretical to science just as much as to religion. The transgressive nature of its discourse is such that it simultaneously exposes town-planners (and other ´media practitioners´) desires to place themselves alongside 'pure' scientists into the space vacated by god. The occult remains as that which is not yet known (indeed unknowable) by science: it is a system of knowledge that is always out of reach, yet as a tradition it is always available. mass media can be therefore seen as a systematic process of covering and uncovering of access to knowledge as a defining feature of its own currency.

mckay´s status as occult master of mind control, which is not so much dialectically as directly related to his employ and expertise as a lecturer of media studies (see evoL PsychogeogrAphix text "smash big brother brainwash" for a more detailed look at how mass media relates to mind control) is now furthered by the appearance of the new VPA at psychogeography.org.uk which occurred simultaneously with the withdrawal of the psychogeography.co.uk site. Is this a further example of the "internecine battles" he refers to in the psychogeography.co.uk f.a.q. of summer solstice 2001 (see international psychogeographic mailing list), or just more of ppuk's mind games orchestrated hand-in-glove with their alleged detractors to create more of a buzz around the culture industry that they are so busy in creating. More likely, ppuk are utilising both strategies in a dialectical overcoming of bourgeois consciousness that is, by now, a hallmark of their distinctive brand of "new, exciting, invigorated", radicalised and authentic psychogeography.





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