Guy Debord

Guide psychogéographique de Paris. Discours sur les passions de l'amour, 1957

To begin with, The Psychogeographical Guide of Paris was part of a selection of five maps drawn up by Guy Debord for the “First Exhibition of Psychogeography” at the Taptoe Gallery in Brussels in February 1957. These maps described unconventional experiments carried out in Paris by the Lettrists. After Debord’s refusal to take part in this collective exhibition (which also brought together Asger Jorn, Yves Klein, Ralphy Rumney, Michèl Bernstein and Mohammed Dahou), this collage was finally printed with The Naked City in May, during a visit to Denmark with Jorn, and published by the International Movement for an Imaginist Bauhaus. Both were then reproduced in 1958 in Jorn’s book Pour la forme, published in Paris by the Internationale Situationniste. Based on the Plan de Paris à vol d’oiseau (Bird’s Eye Plan of Paris) published in 1951 and designed by Georges Peltier, this guide broke up the sovereign unity of the map and replaced it with urban “atmospheric unities”, complete with their defences, their entrances and their exits. The back of the 1958 edition included the following note: “[…] On the plans of Paris published by the M.I.B.I., the arrows represent slopes which naturally link the different atmospheric unities; that is to say, the spontaneous direction a subject takes while traversing this environment without taking into account the practical sequences—involving work or distraction—which usually condition his behaviour”. The movements of the drifter are thus retraced, guided as he is by the action of the geographical milieu on his “affectivity”, culminating in a psychogeographical reconstruction of the urban space. “Passions” thus reconstruct a space that has become “available”, a labyrinth that is part of a contingent time and learnt by experience.

Gilles Rion

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