psychogeography

An Easter Monday Ramble

Nothing special. Just a walk to have breakfast with friends and deliver my income tax material to my accountant at their North Main Street office.

Yes, it’s tax time. But today is also Easter Monday, a day of rebirth and a pseudo holiday where private enterprise chugs on and public employees enjoy a day off.

A quiet day for a long walk, I decide. (more…)

Apps To Get Lost With: Trace

Trace is the third in a trio of walking apps that I’m putting to the test. And, yes, it involves a dog.

Compared to Drift or Likeways, Trace calls for a high degree of user interaction with the app and, optionally, collaboration with others using the app.

Developed at the Tactile and Tactical Design Lab (TAT Lab) at the University of Washington., the app was designed to explore the role of GIS (geographic information systems) technology in shifting our walking habits away from efficiency and towards communication and reflection.

It all starts with a sketch drawn on the screen of a smartphone, a simple line drawing that the app then transfers to a mapped route for the walker to follow.

Here’s how it works. (more…)

Apps To Get Lost With: Likeways

The fledgling Likeways app takes a different approach to navigating on foot between point A and point B.

It uses the same map layer as Apple’s Maps application and, when a destination is entered, Likeways will plot the quickest way to get there, just like the Maps app would. This is shown as a grey track…appropriately enough. The real magic comes in the form of a more circuitous blue route and a forest of red push pins clustered along the way. This is the walker’s path of discovery. It’s an opportunity to avoid the drudgery of walking the straight-line, expedient route and, instead, slowing down to explore things of interest along the way. (more…)

Apps To Get Lost With: Drift

Smartphones are very good at getting you from Point A to Point B in the most direct, efficient means possible. Navigation apps abound for this purpose.

But most are geared to those traveling by car. The needs of pedestrians are after-thoughts, if they are thought of at all. And recommended walking routes – on Google Maps, for example – generally follow car routes, albeit quieter streets where possible. Trails and paths are not a part of the navigation database and are are usually ignored.

The most significant downfall of these apps as pedestrian ‘navigational’ tools is that they favour efficiency over exploration.  Yet, the biggest benefit of walking is the ability to wander at will. Walkers can go where they want: take shortcuts through fields, change direction on a dime, follow eyes and noses. Look up and down. Stop. Anywhere.

In short, walkers have the luxury of getting lost. But that can be a hard concept to grasp in a car-culture governed by straight-line navigation between points. The value society places on wandering aimlessly is very low. We compare walk vs. car travel times when we ought to be thinking in terms of discovery and exploration.

Enter a set of smartphone navigation apps designed to get the walker lost. (more…)

Night Atlas: An Exhibition Opening

On September 17, 2015, an exhibition of my latest photographic project, Night Atlas, will open at the Winnipeg Architecture Foundation in Winnipeg’s Exchange District. I’ll be at the opening, which runs from 7:00-10:00 PM so, if you have a chance, drop by and say hello.

Here are the details:

Night Atlas: Photographs by David Firman
September 17 to October 31, 2015
Opening: Sepember 17, 7:00 PM
Winnipeg Architectural Foundation
266 McDermot Avenue, Winnipeg

The show is presented as part of Winnipeg’s second annual Flash Photography Festival which runs from October 1-31, 2015.

(more…)

A 55+ Walkabout

Today’s walk materialized in minutes.

Gail and I are attending a 55+ Housing and Active Lifestyles Expo fair at a prominent hotel near Winnipeg Airport. Now called the Victoria Inn, decades ago it was known as the International Inn. And it was decades ago that I last visited the hotel with my mother and great aunt for their international buffet lunch. A memorable lunch to be sure. (more…)