Anti-dérive, Copenhagen, Denmark
The dérive, or drift, is a kind of urban walk in which the walker aimlessly wanders the city, following no map, visiting off-limits spaces, getting to know the hidden, unseen, and neglected parts of the city.* With only one day in Copenhagen my walk was the exact opposite. I followed a tourist map's self-guided walking tour though the most scenic and well-known parts of the old centre of town. The dotted line on the map took me past canals lined with colourful houses and houseboats, Queen Margrethe's palace, the main city squares and the cutest crooked old streets, and of course to the city's famous twice-decapitated little mermaid. Jetlag had me taking a couple of long breaks at the ubiquitous Espresso House Coffeebar, and at 8km or so, I had to take a shortcut back to my hostel.
*The dérive, or drift was a psychogeographical walking practice defined by Guy DeBord and the Situationist International (SI), a mid-20th-century radical avant-garde French group of artists and theorists. The dérive, with its deliberate purposelessness and disorientation, is a practice of walking in cities that subverts the expected use of urban spaces. It was one of the radically disruptive measures or détournements that the SI used to undermine the capitalist system.
Location: City Centre, Copenhagen, Denmark
Length: 11 km
Date: 13 May, 2019
Sandra Cowan likes to walk on trails, paths, and city streets. She is based in southern Alberta, Canada, as a visitor in the land of the Siksikaitsitapi (Blackfoot Nation).