Thursday, 6 January 2011

Final leg of the journey

Unloved and untouched for over 7 months, it is high time to put this blog to bed.  A last minute rush to get my final project ready for assessment meant the final journey write-up was abandoned mid-flow!

My journey continued with instructions to visit a variety of locations - Leyton Midland Road, Blackhorse Road and Finsbury Park taking the tube and overground in a tortuous journey across East London.  As ever, despite the variety of locations, there appears to be a unity underlying much of urban life and the visual links just keep on flowing!

At the start of this enterprise my motives had been mainly centred on ideas of exploration and adventure and the linking of chance elements into meaningful relationships.  As the journeys progressed, however, other themes came to the fore - the pleasures of being an observer, the desire to lose oneself in the crowd, a resistance to the restrictions of urban life and a wish to subvert the familiar rituals and habits of everyday life.  The role of game-laying began to assume an importance I had not envisaged - the suspension of the normal rules of engagement serving to sharpen attention and increase observational powers.

The exploration of unknown territory - being metaphorically lost - allows for the discovery of the unexpected within the everyday and has a transformative effect, enabling one to see the mundane with fresh eyes.  This has been brought home to me in the months since my journeys took place - as I settled back into my normal routine, I found my curiosity about the world around me waning and my powers of observation weakening.

The acts of wandering without a destination, getting lost, following another and obeying orders all have the effect of a certain fragmentation of the self, a disengagement from reality and an absolving of responsibility for one's own actions which can be a temporary relief from the everyday burdens of the world.  These have been journeys not just in a literal sense, but also journeys of personal discovery and enlightenment.