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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).
Media in Transition @ 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: French history
Wait a minute, those barbarians at the gate, they don’t look like Jacobins. They’re wearing Armani suits. They’re investment bankers, tired of toxic debt, demanding a bail out! About the image: Prise de la Bastille by Jean-Pierre-Louis-Laurent Houel [Source: Wikimedia … Continue reading
“All my life, my heart has yearned for a thing I cannot name.” “Had this yearning been for money, rather than revolutionary art,” says the Guardian, André Breton would today have seen his dream realised, on learning that a selection … Continue reading
Eugène Delacroix. Liberty Leading the People. 1830. Louvre, Paris. [Source: Wikimedia Commons]] La Liberté guidant le peuple – 28 July 1830
Protesters march down Boulevard Saint Michel on May 10, 1968. The banner reads: “Sorbonne Teachers Against Repression. [Photo by Serge Hambourg/via Art Knowledge News] French photojournalist Serge Hambourg documented the turbulent student revolt in Paris in the spring of 1968 … Continue reading
Students dig up cobblestones to throw at police. The layer of sand below the stones led to the slogan, “Under the cobblestones, the beach.” [Photo by Serge Hambourg/via NPR] Sylvia Poggioli has an excellent radio story on NPR, Marking the … Continue reading
Is this Colette, Balenciaga’s favorite model from the 1950s? [Photo source: Fashion Spot/Vogue] In Couture Clash (Atlantic Monthly, January/February 2008), Benjamin Schwartz reviews four recent books that document the golden age of couture in postwar Paris. He crafts a narrative … Continue reading
Christian Dior created a media sensation by changing hemlines season after season in the 1950s.. [Photo by Roger Wood; source Britannica/Hulton Archive/Getty Images] Christian Dior exhilarated Paris and its most important industry in February 1947 when he presented his inaugural … Continue reading