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FLEFF Intern Voices

The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view

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Posted by Kimberly Capehart at 6:46PM
An example of a card: "Follow a dog walker"

Blog posting by Kimberly Capehart, Documentary Studies and Production ’16, FLEFF Blogger, Cherry Hill, New Jersey

Wake up. Get ready for the day. Walk down 4 flights of stairs. Walk past the library. Cut through Campus Center. Walk through the parking lot outside of Phillips Hall. Stop and get coffee at the Park cart. Go to class.

This is my daily routine just to get to class. In just 7 months, I’ve walked this route hundreds of times, and it’s safe to say that I could probably walk it with my eyes closed at this point (okay, maybe not with all the stairs).

How often do we get stuck in routines? How often do we neglect to let ourselves explore the environment we live in simply because we don’t need to?

In a world reduced to cell phones and computer screens, it’s more important now, than it has ever been, to break out of our shell of convenience and “comfortability” and actually explore the world that we live in. This is where Dérive app comes in.

The brainchild of Babak Fakhamzadeh, a web guru who is currently situated in Uganda, and Eduardo Cachucho, an architect living in Johannesburg, Dérive app is a web-based application that allows users to “get lost in [their] own city,” states Fakhamzadeh.

The application presents users with a series of cards that dictate a certain action. These digital cards, which are accompanied by drawings, collages, and/or pictures generated by contributors, lead the user on an unpredictable, and purely random route throughout the city, or area, of his or her choosing.

“Follow something yellow” 

“Find a fancy sports car”

“Stop for three minutes.”

The cards are simple to follow, yet interesting enough to allow for a full day exploration of a city.

“By using Dérive app, you are specifically avoiding places that everyone else is going to,” says Fakhamzadeh. It allows users to “explore the city merely for being there,” adds Cachucho, “it gets them out of their everyday experience of the city.”

In addition to tracking their dérives (the unofficial name for users’ explorations, which comes from the French verb “deriver” which means “to drift”) users also have the ability to add pictures and notes from their journey.  It’s also “a tool to record that experience and share that experience with others,” notes Fakhamzadeh.

So get out there and dedicate a day to exploration. Break out of your routine and explore your surroundings! Find a new favorite place to eat, venture down some back streets, and get lost in your own city.

I’ll be doing a dérive in Philadelphia next week; where will you explore?

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