Friday, October 13, 2017

Particles of deep topography - 24

Secret urban drift

Text: Family of Spies: Inside the John Walker Spy Ring (Pete Earley)
Illustrations: A walk through south Rotterdam, 2011, Google maps, Bing maps

A dreary walk along through the southern shore of Rotterdam resonates with these cold walks through wintry Vienna. Next time you walk the city imagine that you're following secret instructions. That everything you do has a secret meaning. That you're being watched to see if you're not followed. Remember to act inconspicuously!
The Vienna Procedure was written on a single sheet of white typing paper, and the first time that John saw it, he thought it had been typed. But when he looked carefully at the document, he realized each letter had been printed by hand across the page in incredibly small and neat lines. A bird’s-eye view of the course would show that John had walked in a series of circles all near city parks or small plazas where a KGB agent could sit unnoticed and see both the beginning and end of his jaunts.
The Vienna procedure - At 18:15 p.m. come up to the “Komet Küchen” store (kitchen cabinets and appliances) on the corner of Schönbrunner Strasse and Rückergasse. To get there walk from Schönbrunn palace and park grounds; on Schönbrunner Schlossstrasse and its continuation Schönbrunner Strasse to Rückergasse. Turn left on the latter and stop at the window of the “Komet Küchen” store, which is looking on Rückergasse, just a couple of yards away from the corner. For easy identification please carry your camera bag on your left shoulder and hold a small paper bag in your right hand. Pause by that window for about two minutes from 18:15p.m. To 18:17 p.m., Drifting slowly along it away from Schönbrunner Strasse toward the other corner of the building ...
He walked around the corner of the store as instructed, paused, and then returned to the front of the building. As he was walking back, John noticed that there was a public park diagonally across the street from the store. A KGB agent could easily and unobtrusively watch him from the park benches there and also tell if he was being followed. Following the instructions, John crossed the street and stood in front of another display window. He was now standing parallel to the park.
He walked down the sidewalk and turned right at the next corner into a narrow side street lined with cars. The instructions called for him to walk one block and turn left, then walk another block and turn left again. This brought him back to the main thoroughfare, and he found himself once again facing the public park. Had anyone been following John, he would have been easily apparent to a watcher sitting in the park. There would be no reason for someone to take such an indirect route unless he was shadowing someone.

About this series Over the years I've collected many place descriptions. It's a waste to keep them on my harddisk. So I'll publish them from time to time. I will add some pictures when suitable.
Enhanced and amplified topographies can be found in a broad range of literature. The best ones link to metaphysics or mysticism and (pre-) load the landscape with unexpected layers, sheets, slabs and strata of meaning. We can appropriate all this work to enrich our everyday surroundings.

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