“Dérive in the digital grid, breaking the search to get lost” presented by Psarras, Pitsillides and Maragiannis


Session Title:

  • Digital Narratives & E-Literature

Presentation Title:

  • Dérive in the digital grid, breaking the search to get lost




  • Have you ever sat in front of your computer, looking at the little box with the word search next to it? This seemingly innocent box demanding your attention, demanding to be responsive to your every demand. Have you ever tried to deny it’s pleading emptiness and instead to go on a journey of discovery, charting new and unknown digital territories? During 20th century ‘walking practice’ was used extensively in the avant-garde movement as a critical method to challenge the authoritarian and capitalistic character of the city. Moving through the concept of flâneur who goes on an ethnographic journey (‘botanizing on the asphalt’: Benjamin, 1973), to the distinctly political implications of dérive, arriving at the comparison of ‘resistive walking’ in the physical environment which has a direct correlation to the resistive practices of online non-navigation.
    An online psychogeographical dérive could be a form of digital resistance to the various ways information is being dictated to us from contemporary authoritarian rules and search engines. The current information architecture directs the citizen of the online space to find only that, which is highest rated, rather than allowing the tacit discovery of the obscured. The effective search limits the qualities of that which ‘I’ am searching for and in this way pushes our consciousness through a computation landscape discounting the emotional, the affective and the discovery that excites and stimulates our curious being.
    This paper seeks to explore whether the psychogeographic technique of dérive can be used to break out of the directed pattern of ‘search to find’ in the online space following from Lev Manovich’s concept of the Poetics of Navigation (The Language of New Media, 2000: 223).

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