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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: Playing by Ear
One of the films generating buzz at this week’s Sundance Festival is a documentary about Nina Simone, What Happened, Miss Simone? The title comes from a poem by Maya Angelou. I want to see this one. Continue reading →
Listening to the Studio 360 podcast this morning, I was surprised and thrilled to hear my friend Maria Thornton (Sista Iria) talking with WNYC’s Kurt Andersen. Maria is one of four artists whom Studio 360 will follow this year to encourage them to lean in and complete long-imagined creative projects. Maria plans to return to her reggae roots. Good luck, Maria – Yellow Springs will be a better place to live as a result!
As the holidays approached I kept thinking of a line from a song I heard on Pandora. Didn’t know who sang it. Didn’t know the name of the song. Wanted to post the song as a Christmas greeting for my family. Googling a scrap of lyric (“the love that let us share our name”), I figured out that the song was called “Murder in the City” – not exactly the title I expected for such a lovely refrain. So I didn’t post the video for Christmas. Here it is now.
I confess, Moll has kept me up past my bedtime three nights in a row! Where’s Kim Novak when I need her? I’m reading as lively a version produced by the Library of Congress (NLS). Narrated by Barbara Caruso, that audiobook is available only to blind readers, so I can’t share it here. Nonetheless, you can listen to it, too, via a LibriVox audio book that is freely available in the public domain, as an MP3 download or a live stream.
I followed a link from CBC Spark 152 to this soothing piece on SoundCloud – Stand still by weathercast. Now I’m enchanted by it. “SoundCloud is a platform that puts your sound at the heart of communities, websites and even apps. Watch conversations, connections and social experiences happen, with your sound as the spark.”