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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: Impressionists
Pierre Auguste Renoir. Portrait of Alphonsine Fournaise. 1879. Musée d’Orsay, Paris. [Source: WebMuseum Paris] Alphonsine Fournaise was the woman in straw boater standing at the rail in the center of Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party. Alphonsine is the subtle … Continue reading
An auction house worker poses in front of Claude Monet’s ‘Le bassin aux nympheas.’ [Photo by Lefteris Pitarakis/AP/IHT] One of Claude Monet’s late paintings of waterlilies, finished at a time when he had doubts about his ability to see the … Continue reading
Claude Monet. Palazzo da Mula, Venice. 1908. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. See the series: Monet at the National Gallery of Art.
Claude Monet. Rouen Cathedral, West Façade (left) and Rouen Cathedral, West Façade, Sunlight (right). 1894. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. See the series: Monet at the National Gallery of Art.
Claude Monet. Banks of the Seine, Vétheuil. 1880. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. See the series: Monet at the National Gallery of Art.
Claude Monet. The Houses of Parliament, Sunset. 1903. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. See the series: Monet at the National Gallery of Art.
Auguste Renoir. A Girl with a Watering Can. 1876. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. This was my mother’s most cherished painting at the National Gallery of Art. We viewed it together several times in my youth. When work took … Continue reading
J.M.W. Turner. Pope’s Villa at Twickenham. 1808. A retrospective of 140 paintings and watercolors by Joseph Mallord William Turner — the most comprehensive ever in the United States — is on display at the National Gallery through Jan. 6, 2008. … Continue reading
Mary Cassatt: In the Loge. 1880. Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Mary Cassatt. Woman with a Pearl Necklace in a Loge. 1879. Philadelphia Museum of Art.