Bajada - Journeys along Watercourses and Fluvial Systems

Bajada is a project started in 2014 to walk along a dry watercourse in Southern Spain from the source to the sea.

Mission

  • Water is incredibly important to life on earth.
  • Everywhere there are watercourses - with water or dried up.
  • Walking them allows a better connection with the water systems and a deeper understanding.

Who?

Alone at first. Maybe with others.

 What?

  • Embodied action or ‘being in the world’.
  • Focus attention on the present.
  • Departure from all kinds of mediatised distractions.

How to do a 'Bajada'-inspired trip?

  • Find any kind of watercourse or fluvial system.
  • Choose a start and end point.
  • Pick a human powered mode of transport.
  • Consider a point of enquiry.
  • Do the journey and document.
  • Communicate your journey to others.

Read the Bajada 2014 project video and proposal

Visit the blog I kept from the journey

Theoretical Background

Mediatised Reality

Life is increasingly mediatised especially in the developed world. Media technology is increasingly aggressive at holding attention.

Slavoj Zizek via Lacan's 'Real' is a a space outside of subjective reality between reality and the Real; a fertile area for thinking about wilderness vs human created landscapes.

The activity that has been adopted to describe the process of leaving the mediatised worlds behind and leaving what is left, is adventure. Not just taken in the conventional sense of geographical movement, but rather as an everyday practice. A.N.Whitehead called adventure ‘a vitality of ideas’.

“A race preserves its vigour so long as it harbours a real contrast between what has been and what may be, and so long as it is nerved by the vigour to adventure beyond the safeties of the past. Without adventure, civilization is in full decay.” - A.N.Whitehead, Adventures of Ideas (1933)

Invasive Technology

The reason that this argument is important particularly now because technology is reaching a point where it is absolutely invasive into the human experience. For example, microchips can be implanted in the brain. Virtual reality takes over your direct conscious experience.

Mobile phones allow for the total tracking of movement and behaviour. Artificial intelligence algorithms learn about your preferences and understand how best to interact with you for various purposes. Although the area of spread of the technology is far and wide, the depth is still shallow. Therefore one proposed aspect of the adventurous behaviour is to look more deeply and for longer (Laverty).

Nature

The term ‘Nature’ is conventionally used to describe the collective space of the non-human world. The conventional relationship between humans and Nature is either that of conquering and exploitation of resources and beholden as a space of beauty and equilibrium - the latter particularly in recent times used by environmentalists as a reaction to the human impact on the environment. The notion of being prepared - that motto of the scout movement is the main human reaction to Nature - to protect oneself.

Notes

  • Reality is your daily routine, what you see on the news, and perception of your personal 'world' and network. It is selective and directed towards the needs of the organism.
  • Reality is the human construct, the coordinates of what makes sense in the world. It is the 'enframing' technology of language (it can be explained with language). However, it is entirely possible that it at some points it fails to make sense like it should?
  • Feelings (emotions and significations of consciousness) arise and signify something?
  • The Real World is what exists completely detached from individual (and collective) human existence.
  • Humans have protected themselves well perhaps because of their inherent weaknesses; layers of physical and mental gateways, boundaries, borders, portals, screens, barriers, bureaucracy.
  • Hyperreal space (Baudrillard) represents 'The Real World' through technological devices (like a video camera).

References

  • Laverty
  • Timothy Morton The Ecological Thought