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About the Flaneur
I walk through my blindness the way I wander down streets in Paris: unfettered and alive, alert to the raw material of the senses. I am a flaneur. Come along with me. Just don’t try to take my arm, unless I ask. What’s a flaneur? Read the first post, Return of the Flaneur to Galerie Vivienne. After that, try Foot Rage and the Blind Flaneur. Then stay tuned.
Letting Go of Sight
I’ve canoed on Lake Superior for almost as many years as I’ve been losing eyesight. I return year after year like a migrating loon to learn the other side of a slow, uncertain process that we could call “going blind.” After 35 years with the lake as my teacher, I know what lies on the other side. I call it letting go of sight. Read Big Water. See more about the Great Lakes.
Not This PigIf there is an emerging genetic underclass, I could run for class president or class clown. Read more in Not This Pig (2003).
Disability at MiT
Disabled Americans today have to negotiate for the kinds of accommodations made for FDR, and the caveat “reasonable accommodation” is built into the law. President Franklin Roosevelt did not have to negotiate. He could summon vast resources of the federal government – money as well as brains – to accomplish the work of disability. And it was accomplished with such thoroughness and efficiency that its scale could be called the Accessibility-Industrial Complex had it been directed toward public accommodations and not solely the needs of a single man. Read FDR and the Hidden Work of Disability [MiT8 2013]
Shepard Fairey claimed that his posterization of a copyrighted AP news photo of Barack Obama was a transformative work protected by the fair use doctrine. In other words, it was a shape-shifter. I claim fair use, too, when I reproduce and transform copyrighted works into media formats that are accessible to me as a blind reader. Read Shape-Shifters in the Fair Use Lab [MiT6 2009]
The social engineers who created a system for licensing beggars in New York never imagined that a blind woman had culture or could make culture. She herself may not have imagined it, either. In the moment when Paul Strand photographed her surreptitiously on the street in 1916, he could not have expected that one day blind photographers would reverse the camera’s gaze. Read Curiosity & The Blind Photographer. [MiT5 2007]
Category Archives: Art
Sculptor Louise Bourgeois died today at age 98 in New York City, reports NPR/Associated Press. Continue reading
Marina Abramovic, the self-styled grandmother of performance art has become the first performance artist to be awarded a major retrospective at the New York Museum of Modern Art. Over the years the Serbian artist has starved herself, incised five point stars into her stomach, whipped herself and come very very close to dying in mid-performance. Today her work is increasingly meditative in style but continues to explore an equation of endurance, empathy and energy. The Strand’s Mark Coles talks to her biographer, James Westcott about an artist who lives her art more than most – right now she is in lock-down mode as she attempts her latest 600 hour marathon performance. Continue reading
The work takes on an existence of its own … Emin at the White Cube Gallery. Photograph: [Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images/Guardian] Guardian art critic Jonathan Jones reviews Those Who Suffer Love and concludes that Tracey Emin is far from … Continue reading
What I like most about the BBC is the surrealism that surrounds listening to it in the middle of the night. My local public radio station broadcasts the BBC World Service in the wee hours. If I wake up then … Continue reading