seoul series IV

The whole lighting neighbourhood is turned off. It’s Sunday morning in Seoul and this whole industrial district providing any kind of electric component is closed. The beautiful Seun Arcade, an immensely long concrete building threats demolition, for the sake of a green park; the city thinks that turning derelict structures from the 1960s into open parks is a magic formula for political success.

Today my psychogeographical strategy has more to do with psychopath than with psychological geographies (or psycho-paths). Instead of following random people to be guided through new parts of the city, I choose and chase my prey imagining his story beforehand. I also used to do this when making crosswords; imagining simple stories of why the author would have chosen that word that day.

The first individual results to be a baseball player leading me to a hidden field; the second is a Japanese/Korean student memorising words all her way and the third notices that I am following his bag with the printed word Tokyo, and starts a kind of zig-zag play by changing direction at every corner. After a while, he is getting nervous, so I decide to quit: I have arrived to a very interesting area.

My psycho-instinct takes me to the National Cemetery subway station after seeing a huge sign. It is Sunday morning, and it is full of elderly people. But instead of having a depressive ambiance, families gather joyfully for a picnic at his ancestors’. This place is a mix between a National memorial to war victims, and a meeting point to celebrate life. Corpses are mere numbers in a vast extension of rationally ordered graves. And I suddenly remember this Situationist game of interchanging graves, putting the Peter’s one at Mary’s, and Mary’s at Steven’s…

After this carparking-like park, I discovered a new area, by following the Japanese student. It is a wasteland under an elevated highway among railway tracks. Dozens of disabled veterans (having been or not involved with war) wander around this creepy post-apocalyptic place. The fact that there is a charity open air canteen, gathers people all together. It is shocking to change from this panorama to the lavish Ferraris lane I find some stations away, guided by the guy carrying the Tokyo bag. I am not interested in street names, so I rename them myself, depending on what I live or find there: only luxury vehicles!

This makes me think of the linear map I am producing of Seoul. It needs to be connected to place and psychological perception (phenomenology), but also Time is basic.

The map of my city and the city will both end as soon as I give up moving and the drawing line ends. The rest of the existing city, probably 90% of the surface, which i have not detoured, do not need to be represented. It does not exist for me. And I learn that whenever a city does not show up with any new attractive corner, anything new to discover, it is not worth living there any longer. Provocation is then dead.

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