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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: poetry
Nathan Altman. Portrait of Anna Akhmatova. 1914. The Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia. [Source: Anna Akhmatova Foundation] Anna Akhmatova had become a cultural icon by the time Nathan Altman painted her in 1914. Her bangs and shawl, her regal bearing … Continue reading
After a week of searching for the renewal of thought in inner speech, let there be its full expression in external; speech, through poetry. Had Osip Mandelstam survived Stalin’s labor camps, I imagine him bearing witness with the fierce urgency of Paul Celan, who wrote Todesfuge in the aftermath of the Holocaust. This recitation was recorded sometime before his suicide in Paris in 1970. The performance by Diamanda Galas, which ends too abruptly in the clip, was given in Madrid in 2008.
Early in my study of Lev Vygotsky’s work I asked an experimental psychologist, an eminent authority on the evolution of the mammalian brain, what he knew about Vygotsky. He was working on sabbatical in London at the time, so our … Continue reading
The abridged translation of Thought and Language also omitted passages which the translators considered obscure, overly philosophical, and extraneous to the book’s scientific arguments. In the unabridged translation Kozulin noted, without elaboration, that some of Vygotsky’s conclusions were influenced by … Continue reading