Psychogeographic London

  • Emilie Giles is an interaction designer who recently launched Lost London, a pervasive game that focuses on the forgotten places and networks that exist within the city of London. Based on the principles of psychogeography (“the study of the specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organised or not, on the emotions and behaviour of individuals”), Lost London makes use of Foursquare and Twitter to set the pace of the game. Giles chose to use disused Tube stations as starting points, since the participant is already having to open their eyes a bit more, and notice that which is normally not obvious.

    “Unfold a street map of London, place a glass, rim down, anywhere on the map, and raw round its edge. Pick up the map, go out into the city, and walk the circle, keeping as close as you can to the curve. Record the experience as you go, in whatever medium you favour: film, photography, manuscript, tape. Catch the textual run-off of the streets; the graffiti, the branded litter, the snatches of conversation. Cut for sign. Log the data-stream. Be alert to the happenstance of metaphors, watch for visual rhymes, coincidences, analogies, family resemblance, the changing moods of the street. Complete the circle, and the record ends. Walking makes for content; footage for footage.”

    On the website, Giles provides players with a complete London Tube map that also contains fourteen stations that are currently not in use. Participants are encouraged to find these and to travel between them, carefully observing what they see and find on their trip. “Think of it almost like an aimless wander.” Findings should be documented — on pictures, or on social media. On Twitter you can use the hash tag #Lost_London to let others follow your trip, and Foursquare can be searched to check into subway stations, or to find out pieces of information which are in ‘Tips’. For people who contribute regularly, there may be some rewards to be gained in the form of secret trails. Visit the Lost London website to browse through contributions of players.