Derivé-ing Downtown San Diego


As part of the Collaborative Mapping Workshop activities at Etech, a few of us took some maps, GPS units, cameras (digital and LOMO!) and a coin around the streets of San Diego for an hour or so.

The coin was part of the psychogeographical plan. Following point (8) of Derivé [” 8. A derivé seldom occurs in its pure form.”] we created some rules of our mapping game.


We flipped the coin on each junction to decide whether to carry on in our established direction, and then again to decide a change in direction if necessary.


This was working pretty well until we caught a glimpse of the beach…


Once the coin started to lead us away from the glinting sunshine-on-surf, we rebelled pretty much as a group and abandoned the coin-based games in order to head beachwards.

As Matt Webb remarked, if the rules of a game are good for one thing, it’s for finding out what you really want once you start ignoring them…

0 thoughts on “Derivé-ing Downtown San Diego

  1. One of my favorite things to do in a large crowd of people who want to roam in a strange city is to appoint a “small decision maker” who will make the small decisions for the group. This is to avoid questions like “shall we go left or right?” or “how many appetizers should we have?”

    It is also particularly effective with a group of stoned or high people who have a hard time making decisions.

    In the end, it is very much as you say: when it matters, the group will actually come to a clear consensus fairly quickly if the small decision turns out to be a larger one.

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