The Situationists have been written out of Australian photographic writings, even though the photographic practice of many Australian photographers is one of exploring the nooks and crannies of the city in unpredictable ways.They are modern day flâneurs.
The Situationist's concept of the dérive---an unplanned walk or drift, was defined as the 'technique of locomotion without a goal'. To dérive was to notice the way in which certain areas, streets, or buildings resonate with states of mind, inclinations, and desires, and to seek out reasons for movement other than those for which the urban environment was designed.
If modern society is a spectacle, modern individuals are spectators: observers seduced by the glamorous representations of their own lives, bound up in the mediations of images, signs, and commodities, and intolerably constrained by the necessity of living solely in relation to spectacular categories and alienated relations.
The aim is to negate the seductive glamour of the spectacle through gaining an immediate experience of the world, and transforming the everyday into a reality desired and created by those who live in it.
If the avant-garde had failed to deliver the transformation of everyday reality it promised, then so had the modernist city planners. Sherman Young in Morphings and Ur-Forms: From Flâneur to Driveur in Scan (2005) argues that the romantic figure of the flâneur in nineteenth century Paris is arguably impossible in Australia's automobile city, and it has instead morphed into digital-camera toting tourist-flâneurs. Australia's cities--eg., Sydney--are metropolises of drivers, or driveurs.
Their city is a cacophony of road rage, billboards advertising escape, talkback radio and traffic reports; a city represented by traffic jams, bus lanes and fellow drivers. It is a world of tollways and tailbacks, traffic lights and street signs.