Mar 9, 2013

The Common – Doing a Dérive; or, Walking 2.0

Jennifer Acker has written an intriguing piece about the Abu Dhabi workshop held at NYU Abu Dhabi. Do hop over the The Common to read her in-depth tale of dériving in an “oil-rich, start-up city

A few excerpts:

I suspect Debord could not imagine an oil-rich, start-up city like Abu Dhabi populated with so many low-income guest workers all in need of copying and typing services, tailors, cheap watches and cell phones, and juice and shwarma stands.

Debord says a dérive may have one of two goals: “to study a terrain or to emotionally disorient oneself.” They go together, though, don’t they? It’s the emotional disorientation that leads to study, though perhaps not in the dramatic or systematic or sense Debord had in mind. Learning and adaptation take great strides on the backs of such miniscule discoveries as mine, this neighborhood pocket of villas, schools, and embassies. In my case it was unexpected comfort that I discovered via disorientation. When I returned home, I looked out our highrise window and saw what I’d previously overlooked, where I had been—a pattern of low-lying rootops and narrow streets lying patiently in wait.