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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: VIe
[Photos by lodrorigdzin; all rights reserved] Alex was in Paris last week, and he kindly asked if he could photograph anything in particular for me. He knew I’d love these images of the book stalls on the Seine. The offer … Continue reading
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
Pont des Arts Paris. Watercolor by deneux_jacques. Thanks to deneux_jacques for sharing this image in the Creative Commons. See his superb photo set, Ah, Paris! Imaging Paris documents places in the city and the images that inhabit them. “Just as … Continue reading
[Photo by Bill Cunningham/NYT] I know this cafe. It’s just a hop, skip, and a jump from the Pont des Beaux Arts foot bridge and the statue of Voltaire. It has a grand view of the Quai de la Seine, … Continue reading
Valentino’s finale at the Rodin Museum was bathed in red. [Photo by Jean-Luce Huré for NYT] To the storied history of the Hôtel Biron– Rodin’s studio, Sister of Icarus, Paula Modersohn-Becker, Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet — add this: … Continue reading
No, not bowling shirts. The hat, a la City of London, René Magritte, and A Clockwork Orange. That’s the big news from Day 1 of Men’s Fashion Week in Paris. The prattle behind the prance at Jean Paul Gaultier: bowlers … Continue reading
The Fontaine des Médicis in the Luxembourg Garden, Paris. [Photo by a blind flaneur] I went straight to the fontaine des Médicis. There was nobody there; but the spirit of the place held me at once and I could not … Continue reading