Two-Hat Rogers: Is this how Mytho-geography works?
Yesterday I conducted my first organised drift, introducing some basic ways to read the city of Venice to Year 2 Fine Art Students from Plymouth University. They were late due to heavy fog at the airport and I was sleepy, so I went to a coffee bar to refuel on caffeine and sugar. On the way to the rendezvous I lost the hat I just bought to help stave off the sudden cold, damp weather. I backtracked and (almost) accused a very guilty-looking boy in the café, but the hat was gone. It was so cold I bought another.
The concluding event of the walk was to donate something to the children that play in the Campo del Bandiera e Moro. I’ve been documenting a small in-between space in the square over the last year or so. It’s a window with an arrangement of plastic animals, presumably arranged by the house owner. Presumably, as the children often take the animals to play with, and one day I found the collection tied by gardening wire to the bars of the window grate. The students added to this arrangement and left an animal of their own. As we photographed their efforts I asked: “did someone leave their hat?”
Of all the places my lost hat could have been left, it was on the same window-sill as the final act of the performative walk. As if the donation triggered a reciprocal act. And I remembered the two mythogeographical walks I’ve been on with the great Phil Smith: how it was impossible to understand what was theatrically set up and what was coincidence, how the planned and the accident interrelated or were instantly incorporated into the drift. This ‘give and take’ sub-text in the psycho-magical actions prescribed by Alejandro Jodorowsy fascinates me: ‘what you give is what you get’ translates in many languages.
Maybe some students thought the ‘hat-trick’ was artifice. I dropped in three hours later to check the in-between space and the white tiger was gone. A tiger for a hat: seems enough of a crazy barter to be about right.
Is this how Mythogeography works, Phil?