Exploring epistemology of psychogeography – Experiences from mental mapping workshops
More than fifty years ago Situationist movement opened up a discussion about production of geographical knowledge and manifestation of our sense of place through art practices. By using psychogeographical methods the urban space has not been only investigated and experience but also actively per-formed. However, there is still a question what kind of knowledge art activities as a tool or method for geographical research produces and what the relationship between scientific geographical knowledge and artistic experience is.
Our paper presents some outputs from mental mapping workshops which were taken place in Czech cities and towns. In order to broaden epistemological possibilities of exploring the urban environment we tested a range of psychogeographical and artistic practices in which various actors (students, pupils, families, communities as well as officers) were involved. They thus walked through and performed in the city or town according to guideline, anomalously experienced the urban environment (listening and smelling, enjoying each step, zooming on details, following colours, looking for a genius loci or just irrationally thinking of place) and then sketched or recorded these feelings into mental maps. After each workshop, their sketches, experiences and feedbacks were analyzed with regard to geographical epistemology and practical implications. Therefore, in our presentation not only features of this epistemology are introduced but also a specific application of these practices in the urban planning is suggested.