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Word Walk: Déviation

Experiment _ October  1. 2013

Word: devient / Group: Alexandra, Ikhyeon, Quaymberly


Our word from the other group was ‘Déviation’ in French. It was a divine word that was extracted from the Bible.  We believed it meant go a different route or a different way. We stuck very close to the path that the word creates on the map. We wanted to be even more strict but it was impossible and frustrating. Our final path was very rigid and this is because of the buildings that blocked our way. To us, the human handwriting and the body, is a curvacious and natural shape, unlike the unyielding structure of the city. We related it to the river, which was very soft and smooth and rounded. The way we walk is similar, not as rigid. But why did humans build the city in this way? We drew an image of desire lines on an empty space and perhaps people followed a path (not exactly) every time and then a road developed. Then they built the road in the path and this is what made it straight. After the walk I found synonyms for déviation which are ‘curvature’, ‘deflection’, ‘diversion’ and ‘drift’.


A handwritten word on top of a map becomes a new street we want to follow.
« devient » (he « becomes » or they « deviate » in french)

We usually feel we could freely go anywhere we want in a public space. This experience has shown us the opposite. From the top, the city looks like a grid we can hardly enter. The map guides us so well that it actually seems to decides where we are going. Our way was blocked by private properties, walls, locked doors, or signboards. We did compromises, but the streets staid desperately too straight, not curved enough to understand our word « devient » and allow this particular trip.

We can easily imagine that streets, roads, are the result of the accumulation of time. Pedestrians would have naturally dig the way to cross from one point to the other. Irony is there, the street which was built for us is now disturbing us. We could say that the « urban grid » is the result of a compromise of all those paths (some might be worth than others).


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