THE CITY AS AN ANTHOLOGY/READING MY TOWN BY WRITING HER A LETTER
Motivated by the fascination to expose the unnoticed daily reality in its urban space, I invited fellow-inhabitants to share a non-public part of their personal daily routine. These performative encounters result in ‘walks-on-paper’, created by letters, drawings and movement scores. One of these encounters is exposed in the artefact that is presented. Drifting throughout various surfaces of the city, I regard the relationship of the passers-by' daily routines with the traces they leave behind on the floor of the city, as a base for developing my autopsychogeographic method. Through an imagined reality, these traces reveal themselves in sentences and signs on the ‘pages’ of the city’s anthology. The resemblance of writing and drawing on paper, with the way the city-floor is ‘filled in’ by passers-by, provides an insight into the narrative of an everydayness that takes place on both public and private grounds. In this ‘reading’ of the town, I uncover the value of imagination, thus allowing a more imaginative discourse with one’s own habitat creating awareness for the hidden poetry in the everyday. The hypothesis postulated in my dissertation-by-practice is, that the series of small scale encounters, that were conducted in my research, may contribute to imagination and identification of a hidden poetic quality of routings and routines of urban inhabitants with their everyday surroundings. This identification conveys an awareness of the imaginary space of the everyday that connects to a personal and local urban condition. My research emphasises the valorisation of imagination as a non-economic but essential potential knowledge that deserves a valuable place in the public and private domain. The potential, as a subtle and alternate mode of working with imagination, that lies in this, is the ability to attend to and respect the uneventful side of the mundane. In that sense, my proposition of the term ‘autopsychogeography’, can be a method or a tool for anyone interested in poetic grounding in our material world, and attributes and emphasises additional value to the shared community narrative.
P.S. With a background in Mime, Fine Arts and Gardening, I proceed my way through life in a non-spectacular mode and capture the daily routines of my fellow passers-by in chorographical scores. My research is local. I live in an expanded perma(nent) culture in which I drift like a contemporary Hunter-Gatherer. I chase valueless components. Slugs go slow but steady. I stray alongside. How edible is my view? I sow seeds for crops to thrive in my street to become an urban food forest. Passers-by pace on, I kneel down on the pavement and write a letter to my neighbourhood.
in the context of the Dissertation-by-Practice
Master Theatre Practice (cohort 2018-2020)
Graduate School of the University of Arts, Arnhem-NL
Spring 2020 © Mariken Overdijk
This is not a video-performance
some parts were performed
The footage is of one of the encounters I had with some fellow inhabitants somewhere in a public space in Amsterdam. Although this meeting was a 1-2-1 performance encounter, for the sake of sharing this with you, I documented this meeting into different kinds of footage. There is audio, video, written letters, envelops, hand-made stamps and me in the role of the letterbeareress, delivering an envelope at the house of my guest. The audio material is edited in different tracks on a vinyl record. Together with a portable record player, it became a transportable moment, to be taken out, on a walk and be consumed by any spectator on a self-chosen spot.
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