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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]
Tag Archives: Paris
John Trumbull’s Declaration of Independence is a 12-by-18-foot oil-on-canvas painting in the United States Capitol Rotunda that depicts the presentation of the draft of the Declaration of Independence to Congress. It was based on a much smaller version of the same scene, presently held by the Yale University Art Gallery. Trumbull painted many of the figures in the picture from life and visited Independence Hall as well to depict the chamber where the Second Continental Congress met. The oil-on-canvas work was commissioned in 1817, purchased in 1819, and placed in the rotunda in 1826. Continue reading
One of the first books I ever touched – long before I knew how to read – came from Paris. My father sent it to my sister for Christmas in 1945. It is inscribed, “To Diana Lee – Love, Daddy” which makes it priceless in my esteem.
In my chat with the BBC producer, I suggested that he talk with Robert Darnton, the eminent historian of the history of books and publishing in 18th-century France. Darnton wrote a trilogy of books about the literary underworld thriving on the banks of the Seine, and many other places. The books are: The Business of Enlightenment (1979), The Literary Underground of the Old Regime (1982), and The Forbidden Bestsellers Of Pre-Revolutionary France (1995). Darnton’s project was writing a social history of the ideas of the Enlightenment. Continue reading
I talked with a BBC producer who is putting together a half-hour radio show about les bouquinistes in Paris. He found me via this story, one of the earliest posts on a blind flaneur. I was sad the day it dropped off the bottom of the home page. I thought, maybe no one would ever find or read it again. Not so! Talking about the bouquinistes transported me back to idyllic afternoons strolling on the banks of the Seine. Continue reading
Sculptor Louise Bourgeois died today at age 98 in New York City, reports NPR/Associated Press. Continue reading
Anita Tijoux has a French mother and Chilean father. She speaks French but chooses to rap mostly in Spanish. Global Hit has an interview with her this week coinciding with her first U.S. release, 1977. The title alludes to the year she was born. She says Dada and Surrealist poetry were big influences. Continue reading
The statistics are staggering for the wine auction at La Tour d’Argent, the venerable Left Bank restaurant with a 27-room wine cellar [left; photo by David Queen/Wikipedia]. The auction fetched more than a million euros, according to AFP. A bottle … Continue reading
“France was in mourning today for one of its oldest and best-loved lotharios, a giant tortoise named Kiki, who died at the age of 146.” Continue reading