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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: surrealism
This happens whenever I doze while listening to Morning Edition. I had this crazy dream. All those patriotic delegates at the Republican National Convention – the smiling mob who roared at Sarah Palin’s self-congratulation about pit bulls and lipstick – every one of them flew to Louisiana on their own dime. BP and the Chamber of Commerce didn’t pay a penny. And they were mucking around in the swamps with baggies and soda straws, prepared to siphon oil off sick birds. And Rudy Giuliani was cheering them on: “Spill, baby, spill.” Continue reading
I admit it. When I compared Man Ray’s “Emak-Bakia” to Avatar the other day, I was listening to the crasser angels of search engine optimization. You know, the ones that tell you to forget everything you ever learned about writing clever magazine headlines. Just pack every Google ad word you can into the blog title. So I threw in Avatar and nothing happened.
When Man Ray’s short film “Emak-Bakia” debuted in Paris in 1926, critical opinion was mixed. One angry viewer shouted that it gave him a headache and hurt his eyes, to which another retorted, “Shut up!” A brawl ensued, which spread through the audience and spilled into the street. Then the police arrived to quell the riot. Continue reading
Lots of people lined up to peek through the keyhole for a glimpse of Lee Miller, whose meteoric career arced from Vogue fashion model to Surrealist muse to intrepid war photographer. The voyeurs included Condé Nast, Man Ray, Jean Cocteau, … Continue reading
Grant Wood. Parson Weems’ Fable. 1939. Amon Carter Museum, Forth Worth. When I was five years old, before I learned to read, I laid claim to a book in the family library called Pictorial History of American Presidents. It covered … Continue reading
Rushdie On Calvino’s Absurd, Charming Masterpiece : NPR: “In 1965, the great Italian writer Italo Calvino — in a light, fantastic collection of 12 short stories, titled Cosmicomics — took on nothing less than the creation of the universe. “I … 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
The original manuscript is a priceless fetish object now, but you don’t have to be a zillionaire to read the Manifesto of Surrealism. You can experience a little psychic automatism , and it’s free. Thanks to firstname.lastname@example.org for publishing this … Continue reading
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Lee Miller as L’Arlesienne. 1937. Musée Picasso, Paris. Exhibition note for Lee Miller. Picasso in Private at Museu Picasso in Barcelona: Lee Miller … took over a thousand photographs of Picasso during the thirty-six years of … Continue reading
Lee Miller photographed women in fire masks in wartime London in 1944. [Source: Telegraph/Lee Miller Archives] See Lee Miller: Flapper Fashionista, Lee Miller: Surrealist Muse and Lee Miller: War Photographer.