Federica Martini - Notes

From Ivan Chtcheglov, "Formulaire pour un urbanisme nouveau" (1953)

The main activity of the inhabitants will be CONTINUOUS DRIFTING. The changing of landscapes from one hour to the next will result in total disorientation. Couples will no longer pass their nights in the home where they live and receive guests, which is nothing but a banal social custom. The chamber of love will be more distant from the center of the city: it will naturally recreate for the partners a sense of exoticism in a locale less open to light, more hidden, so as to recover the atmosphere of secrecy. The opposite tendency, seeking a center of thought, will proceed through the same technique. Later, as the activities inevitably grow stale, this drifting will partially leave the realm of direct experience for that of representation.

Note: A certain Saint-Germain-des Prés, about which no one has yet written, has been the first group functioning on a historical scale within this ethic of drifting. This magical group spirit, which has remained underground up till now, is the only explanation for the enormous influence that a mere three city blocks have had on the world, an influence that others have inadequately attempted to explain on the basis of styles of clothing and song, or even more stupidly by the neighborhood’s supposedly freer access to prostitution (and Pigalle?). 

In forthcoming books we will elucidate the coincidence and incidences of the Saint-Germain days (Henry de Béarn’s The New Nomadism, Guy Debord’s Beautiful Youth, etc.). This should serve to clarify not only an “aesthetic of behaviors” but practical means for forming new groups, and above all a complete phenomenology of couples, encounters and duration which mathematicians and poets will study with profit.

Finally, to those who object that a people cannot live by drifting, it is useful to recall that in every group certain characters (priests or heroes) are charged with representing various tendencies as specialists, in accordance with the dual mechanism of projection and identification. Experience demonstrates that a dérive is a good replacement for a Mass: it is more effective in making people enter into communication with the ensemble of energies, seducing them for the benefit of the collectivity. 

Paul Farley, Michael Symmons Roberts, Edgelands, Random House, 2011.
We made many journeys into this landscape, though this isn't a book of walks, rambles, dérives or flaneurisms. Although elements of all these things undoubtedly helped us reacquaint ourselves with this no-man's-land, both of us knew this landscape well, having grown up living close to it. The things to be found and experienced in this zone - indeed, the unkempt and overlooked texture of this zone in its entirety - have already found their various ways into many of the poems, dramas and stories we've both written since... Nevertheless, we felt that these edgelands were being largely ignored or misrepresented in the explosion of landscape writing of the last decade. (...) This was a difficult landscape to immerse ourselves in physically - there would be no tree climbing, and swimming in standing water would be out of the question - though in the backs of our minds there was a sense of letting the terrain speak for itself.