Public Notice

Psychogeographers Navigate New York City's Changing Landscape

According to Schiller, as pedestrians, just being in tune enough with our surroundings to notice these subtle gems and "little moments" is an essential part of not just finding street art but experiencing the pulsating city around us. "Are people really noticing how many little stores are closing?" asks Schiller. "It's the same kind of awareness that makes us notice small street art. We can be numb to it or we can really tap into the fact that the country's poor condition might be just as much of a threat [as restrictive security measures]."

Urban outfit: Swoon's life-size paper cutouts dress up drab city walls.
photo: Mark Schiller
Urban outfit: Swoon's life-size paper cutouts dress up drab city walls.

Any spirited New Yorker enjoys getting thrown off his or her Habitrail to discover some parallel world, whether it's a vagrant saying poetic things to a door or an Orwellian drama played for a surveillance camera. In a city where our eyes are rarely relaxed on any horizon line, and every politician and industry is battling for our attention, we can use the clarity and mental vacations that random psychogeographical walks and alternative public art offer. "It's about becoming aware of what's around you," says Schiller. "It's about being connected with the rest of the city."

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