Friday, 5 December 2014

A drift round my neighbourhood #takeover


I work and live in Bedminster, so I spend the majority of my time there. I walk to and from work, and to and from the shops along the same routes every day. In order to jolt myself into discovering and thinking more about my corner of Bristol I decided to go on a drift. A drift or derivé is one of the methods the Situationists used to understand more about the ways in which our environments affects out behaviour. Drifting means to travel without any specific destination in mind

I chose to let fate decide my route, to push me to places I’d normally never venture. I flipped a coin and created myself a set of directions. Heads meant left and tails meant right. I did this until it filled a page, not really knowing how long it would take to complete them all. The plan was to use these directions anytime I met a junction or dead end. I put on some comfy shoes, packed my notebook, pen and camera and started on a mini adventure from my own front door. Having no destination in mind meant that my focus was entirely on the journey itself.


The beginning of my route took me on a sort of circle around the residential area. I noticed that the houses all had names engraved above the door. Whoever built them must have had to think up so many. I really like these details in design, which go way beyond practicality or functionality and show thought and care. It’s as if each house has its own individual identity, and in a way that’s sort of what makes a house more like a home, than just a box to live in.




I kept walking, down a road that smelt like toast. I then bumped into a really friendly cat
that I’d met once before. This cat lives right by a school so must get a tonne of attention from the passing kids. It clearly loves it, I stopped to stroke it a moment and it followed me to the end of the road. About a quarter of the way through my directions I really started to get into unknown territory. This area was a little more run-down than the rejuvenated North Street, where people looking for cafés and delis are less likely to wander. It seemed like I’d chosen a bad time to start and met a crowd of school kids heading home. Luckily my next direction took me away from the crowd toward the dual carriageway.



After about half an hour of having no idea where I was, I started to recognise a bridge in the distance. When I saw that I had the uncanny feeling of suddenly being able to place myself geographically, I was only about five minutes from my house. I’d only got through half my directions and it had taken an hour. I’ll be honest, as this point, I gave up. I thought I’ll either commit myself to another hour or pick up where I left off another day. So I went home, having explored a whole new part of my neighbourhood. I now have in my head a much bigger map of the area and a few more ideas of what makes Bedminster, well Bedminster. 

This blog post was written by young Bristolian Ellen May Pye for #takeover


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