Texas Detour

Texas Detour (Détournement)

I've been on an open-ended, research road-trip since late February, 2024. From Portland through the mountain West to Austin, Texas, for YIMBYtown conference, then some time in Colorado and New Mexico, then mostly Austin area since. 

As Thoreau wrote (about "the woods") in Walden; or, Life in the Woods (1853)

"I went to the streets because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion."

Here's the start of that quote, as used for the customary opening reading of the Dead Poets Society, in the 1989 film of that name, which people for many years told me I reminded them of Ethan Hawke's character in: 

On my journeys I have been studying/exploring many things and places, but particularly alternative housing, homelessness conditions & responses, vernacular building, and natural/cultural landscapes. I've been taking thousands of photographs and other notes or collectings, am gradually organizing, distilling, weaving for possible writings, projects, etc. 

Title notes
Following my usual practice of thematizing my longer excursions and vacatings, I'm calling this Texas Détournement, or Texas Detour for short. Partly, as a reference to Texas Hold'em, the smash crossover hit by Texas-raised Beyonce that came out just before I left. 

From détourné (French, adj): devious, not direct; not straightforward, roundabout:

Détournement (French: [detuʁnəmɑ̃], masculine noun; DE-torn-e-'mo. Wiktionary):  "rerouting, hijacking"; a term and technique developed in the 1950s by the Letterist International, and later adapted by the Situationist International (SI), that was defined in the SI's inaugural 1958 journal. Détournement refers to political/cultural interventions that challenge and redefine current popular understandings, often in subversive humourous, or absurd ways. 

Image: a cigarette advertisement on a billboard turned into a détournement by defacing the cowboy image and modifying the text, probably including "Marlboro", to read "It's a bore.". (from Wikipedia, "Détournement").

"The West of which I speak is but another name for the Wild; and what I have been preparing to say is, that in Wildness is the preservation of the world. Hope and the future for me are not in lawns and cultivated fields, not in towns and cities, but in the impervious and quaking swamps."