Psychogeography is the study of how the emotions and behaviour of individuals are influenced by their geographical surroundings.
The concept of psychogeography delves into the impact of different places on our emotions and behaviour, coined by the Marxist thinker Guy Debord in 1955. Drawing inspiration from Charles Baudelaire's notion of the flâneur, an urban explorer, Debord advocated innovative and playful methods of traversing the urban landscape to scrutinise its architecture and spaces.
As a co-founder of the Situationist International avant-garde movement, a global collective of artists, writers, and poets striving to dissolve the boundaries between culture and everyday life, Debord sought a revolutionary approach to architecture, one less focused on utility and more oriented toward exploration.
The psychogeographic vision of reimagining the city finds its origins in the avant-garde movements of dadaism and surrealism, which experimented with ways to unleash the subconscious imagination. Early instances of this concept can be observed in Tristam Hillier's paintings, such as ‘La Route des Alpes’ from 1937.
Psychogeography experienced a resurgence in the 1990s when artists, writers, and filmmakers like Iain Sinclair and Patrick Keiller started using this idea as a foundation for their creative works, which involved exploring locations through walking and other experiential approaches.