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The Passage of a Few People Through a Rather Brief Moment in Time #164 - The Straight Story

09.5.12

One or more persons during a certain period drop their usual motives
for movement and action, their relations, their work and leisure activities,
and let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the
encounters they find there.

It's a bike ride.

Started by user nathansnider and user theroyalacademy.

It meets every Wednesday at 8:30pm
at California Donuts #21.
We ride at 9pm.
We'll endeavor to return before the last red line trains (around midnight).

On this bike ride, you might expect:
- inconvenient passageways
- oblique strategies
- Oulipian constraints
- disorientation
- reorientation
- "cover" versions of other people's rides, performed with amateurish enthusiasm
- amateurish enthusiasm
- pool halls
- bowling alleys
- karaoke
- geocaching
- full moon picnics
- traffic median tea parties
- rivers that no longer exist
- smell tourism
- Couchwick v2.0

Furthermore:
- usually 20-35 miles
- usually some hills
- a medium pace (probably not for beginners; certainly not a hustle)
- few stops, short stops
- but we're not in a rush; we don't need to run every light
- victory donuts!

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This week:

The Straight Story


Defamiliarization through disorientation -- this is one of our ride's main
tactics. Convoluted routes breach conventional mental mappings,
potentially allowing one to see the city anew. This, we have found, works.

Yet this is not, of course, the only way. One can achieve a similar
effect by reorganizing space via narrative, be it historical, conceptual,
or otherwise. Or one can impose the rules of a game. Or introduce
the whims of chance. A joke can become a path can become a lens
for focusing thought. It doesn't even have to be a good joke. (Better if
it's not a good joke!) It can be a pun.

And one can also do the exact opposite of drawing a convoluted route:
one can reduce the turns, reducing the variables. One can embark in a
direction and then hold it. And hold it. And hold it. And hold it. And as that
vector extends out, minimal changes can gradually become maximal.
Sameness can give way to strangeness. The unchanging can become
the uncanny.

Yet, really, things do of course change. A road may have the same
name (or may not) as it continues on, but it rarely has the same feeling.
Long streets stretch over myriad districts, residential to commercial
to industrial and back. However, by hewing to that common thread,
it can feel less like traversing distances -- from one place to another --
and more like transformation, possibly transmogrification, of one single
place. And maybe we change too. Just a little. Maybe.

-

30+ miles; rather flat; a little less straight than totally straight,
but pretty darn straight for us.

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For the latest information about each week's ride, join our mailing list:
http://groups.google.com/group/the-passage-announcements

For more information about past rides, visit our (newly updated!) website:
http://www.ThePassageRide.com

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Certain shifting angles,
certain receding perspectives.
 


Posted by theroyalacademy