Main Entry: 1 oc·cult
Pronunciation: &-'k<, ä-
Function: transitive verb
Etymology: Latin occultare, frequentative of occulere
: to shut off from view or exposure : COVER, ECLIPSE
- oc·cult·er noun
Shortly after the spring 2002 editorial for the Journal
of Psychogeography (Volume 1. No. 2.) at psychogeography.co.uk
was posted, the whole site was removed from public access
and replaced with a picture of the word POTLACH.
in that editorial, ppuk refer to an article by Richard Morrison
(The Times, London, August 23 2001) and distance themselves
from forms of psychogeography that the article refers to
separately as a 'new religion' an 'industry' and 'big business'
I was always most interested in psychogeography as an 'unacceptable theory', as something that would be treated as invalid, particularly by those involved in academic and political discourses.
However, having said this, psychogeography is becoming increasingly acceptable as a discursive formation within both academic geography and literary criticism. - Stewart Home: (see stewarthomesociety.org)
our song and dance sessions prompted by ppuk´s launch of Psychogeography.co.uk
Version 2.0 ("produced to provide a reliable source of information
on matters directly pertaining to psychogeography" see emissions
list) back in April 2001, we have seen the ppuk
editorial staff going from a position of' "Stewart Home
does not occupy our thoughts very much" (see emissions
list); to demanding that Home be removed from a
lecture room and then threatening to sue the university hosts
when they write an apology email to the other participants
future conference), and then on to the postion
of the last editorial where 'contemporary psychogeography'
is being criticised for being 'fascinated' by the occult,
using sinclair as a starting point, and then proceeding to
talk about certain unnamed 'pamphlet profiteers'!!, ppuk construct
a cardboard cut-out opponent: "whose radicalism really masks
a disturbing form of base-conservatism". this unnamed bogie-man
presumably is the dark dialectical twin to their own surface
conservativeness which masks a new, exciting, invigorated
radicalised and authentic psychogeography.
the problem is that it doesn't. and while i may find it
very amusing that ppuk editor Ian Mckay has worked himself
up into such a paranoiac frenzy as to think that Stewart
Home wants to kill him, i don't think that either home or
mckay enjoy such states of heightened paranoiac critical
consciousness in the least bit, and serious questions are
raised as to ppuk´s methods. And while Helen Scalway's article
on the psychogeographical writings of Iain Sinclair was
a real delight to read, stating that his works in this field
are "tinged ... with a sense of closed meanings within an
outworn politics of gender, class, race" is akin to saying
that Valerie Solanis SCUM manifesto is a bit sexist! nihilism
is not the mirror of critical rigour, it is the preconception
of both reason and madness. The dialectic it forms with
belief is overcome and therefore intimately bound by critical
and dialectical methodology.
dialectical dancing around the revolutionary and recuperative
levels of psychogeography mark the development of psychogeographical
discourse into a "new, meaningful, and wholly relevant"
phase. this is not simply a case of academia versus bohemia:
this is a dialectical overcoming of power as world capitalism
approach its deadly conclusion.
"Only in transgressing the rules of the planned space can we really find our own meaning and space," said Mr McKay. "A good planner knows this and allows for this transgression of the plan by the individuals who have to live in the space. The good town planner may well be one not precious about the plan."
Simon Parker`s guardian
article (Friday February 22, 2002) from which
this quote is taken, ultimately fails to grasp what McKays
statement implies. it is not a case of "power 2 the
psychogeographers" as the title of the piece declares.
In the past, power has manifested through the sacrificial
burning at the stake, of people accused of being secret
'occultists´. power now manifests through direct / indirect
mind control (mass media, medication) and economic sanctions
before it needs to reveal itself through direct capture,
bodily harm or murder. advanced capitalism has surely lead
to an advanced psychogeography to whom there will be no
power, only resistance.
The only mention of our methods of resistance, in the Guardian
article, is this 1 line: "Some psychogeographical groups
have also brought the occult into their study of the city,
becoming obsessed with ley-lines and other new age gimmickry."
The Times goes further in postulating that occult readings
'seem.. to be a way of helping people to put up with mundane
or squalid surroundings by pretending that they have the mystical
power of, say, Stonehenge.' the dismissive nature of these
comments, which sentiments are echoed in the ppuk spring editorial,
reveal how the media legitimises itself through the creation
of its own antithetical pole. This psychogeographical layering
of space and cyberspace is achieve by glossing over some things
while highlighting others. anyone practising driftwork and
streetpsychogeography will easily see that town planners (or
artists, web designers and other ´media practitioners´) are
implicated in the shaping the city through mediated institutional
forms that affect the movements of workers; labourers, managers,
corporations, tramps and all sorts of other bodies.
all talk of the occult is, of course, completely heretical
to science just as much as to religion. The transgressive
nature of its discourse is such that it simultaneously exposes
town-planners (and other ´media practitioners´) desires
to place themselves alongside 'pure' scientists into the
space vacated by god. The occult remains as that which is
not yet known (indeed unknowable) by science: it is a system
of knowledge that is always out of reach, yet as a tradition
it is always available. mass media can be therefore seen
as a systematic process of covering and uncovering of access
to knowledge as a defining feature of its own currency.
mckay´s status as occult master of mind control, which
is not so much dialectically as directly related to his
employ and expertise as a lecturer of media studies (see
evoL PsychogeogrAphix text "smash big brother brainwash"
for a more detailed look at how mass media relates to mind
control) is now furthered by the appearance of the new VPA
which occurred simultaneously with the withdrawal of the
psychogeography.co.uk site. Is this a further example of
the "internecine battles" he refers to in the
psychogeography.co.uk f.a.q. of summer solstice 2001 (see
psychogeographic mailing list), or just more
of ppuk's mind games orchestrated hand-in-glove with their
alleged detractors to create more of a buzz around the culture
industry that they are so busy in creating. More likely,
ppuk are utilising both strategies in a dialectical overcoming
of bourgeois consciousness that is, by now, a hallmark of
their distinctive brand of "new, exciting, invigorated",
radicalised and authentic psychogeography.