Bajada - Journeys along Watercourses and Fluvial Systems


  • Bajada is all about walking.
  • Everywhere there are watercourses - with water or dried up.
  • Watercourses or fluvial systems are geographical features that offer a route that can be followed.
  • The channel can also have influenced its surroundings - e.g. by having formed a valley, or by human / flora / fauna use.
  • Water is incredibly important to life on earth.
  • A better understanding of risk taking.
  • Embodied action or ‘being in the world’.
  • Departure from all kinds of mediatised distractions.
  • Focus attention on the present.

What is the purpose?

Why bother?

What is the value it brings to me?

What is the value it brings to others?

Structure as if writing a thesis Look up structure for thesis E.g.

Hypothesis Summary Aim Plan of action to test Findings Conclusion

How do you do a Bajada trip?

  • Get a map location or further afield.
  • Find any kind of watercourse or fluvial system.
  • Choose a start and end point.
  • Pick a method of transport.
  • Choose a topic of enquiry to have on your journey.
  • Do the journey and document.
  • Communicate your journey to others.

Read the Bajada 2014 project video and proposal Visit the blog I kept from the journey

Theoretical Background

Mediatised Reality

The grounds for the argument are based in the increasingly mediatised existence of particularly the Western, modern, developed world. There is an ongoing drive forward for media technology to be able to grab and hold attention in a ‘battle of attention’. This draw on the work of various philosophers including Slavoj Zizek. He draws on the work of Lacan of the Real world which is outside of the realms of our reality. The understanding of this space is that there is a border between reality and the Real. The world created by the mediatised technologies is a further world within reality which pulls the subject further away from the Real.

The activity that has been adopted to describe the process of leaving the mediatised worlds behind and leaving what is left, is adventure. Not just taken in the conventional sense of geographical movement, but rather as an everyday practice. A.N.Whitehead called adventure ‘a vitality of ideas’.

“A race preserves its vigour so long as it harbours a real contrast between what has been and what may be, and so long as it is nerved by the vigour to adventure beyond the safeties of the past. Without adventure, civilization is in full decay.” - A.N.Whitehead, Adventures of Ideas (1933)

Invasive Technology

The reason that this argument is important particularly now because technology is reaching a point where it is absolutely invasive into the human experience. For example, microchips can be implanted in the brain. Virtual reality takes over your direct conscious experience. Mobile phones allow for the total tracking of movement and behaviour. Artificial intelligence algorithms learn about your preferences and understand how best to interact with you for various purposes. Although the area of spread of the technology is far and wide, the depth is still shallow. Therefore one proposed aspect of the adventurous behaviour is to look more deeply and for longer (Laverty).

The reason for the existence of the technologies is a much larger question that goes beyond the scope of this thesis. It could be an inevitable process of evolution of objects, a need for humans to protect themselves against the environment and predators or a desire to remember the past.


The other world to the human world and experience constitutes the aforementioned Real. The term ‘Nature’ is conventionally used to describe the collective space of the non-human world. The conventional relationship between humans and Nature is either that of conquering and exploitation of resources and beholden as a space of beauty and equilibrium - the latter particularly in recent times used by environmentalists as a reaction to the human impact on the environment. The notion of being prepared - that motto of the scout movement is the main human reaction to Nature - to protect oneself.

Glossary / notes

  • Reality is your daily routine, what you see on the news, and your perception of the world. It is selective and directed towards the needs of the organism.

  • The Real World is what exists completely detached from individual (and collective) human existence, from your human-'being' from your personal 'world', network, which supports your existence in the form of a fleshy humanoid.

  • Reality is the human construct. It is the coordinates of what makes sense in the world; it is the 'enframing' technology of language (it can be explained with language). However, it is entirely possible that it at some points it fails to make sense like it should? Feelings (emotions and significations of consciousness) arise and signify that something should be done to enable the organism to 'satisfice' to do what it needs to do.

  • Humans have protected themselves so well because of their weakness. They now have various layers of physical and mental gateways, boundaries, borders, portals, screens, barriers, bureaucracy (whatever forms they takes) to navigate in daily life.

  • The development of the hyperreal space (Baudrillard). In representational media we see something that represents 'The Real World' through technological devices (like a video camera). It sees like humans sees (more or less) (but a bit differently: useful?). These representations through their sublime presence become more valued than the Real itself (which we don't know and have no way of knowing or controlling fully) and also the reason for the activity of exploration itself.

  • The romanticisation of wilderness as offering freedom should be avoided (like in the film 'Into the Wild' where we saw the protagonist have a loss of survival instinct, essentially committing suicide. He achieved freedom only through death). The story is more interesting when the protagonist traverses different worlds - meeting many characters living different types kinds of lives.

  • Laverty

  • Timothy Morton The Ecological Thought