It used to be a long time ago when I first got knowledge of this word. It was through an amazing instructor (remember Margaret?) that we started developing the concept of the "subjective city" through the eyes of the flaneur.
Who is a flaneur (or flaneuse)? Is a person who is having a key role in understanding, participating in and portraying the city. The exemples we studied at school all happened in the beautiful city of Paris, because that's where the real flaneur was born thanks to Charles Baudelaire. He/she is part of the city but at the same time detached from it. The flaneur would sit at a café watching and analizing what happens around him/her. Would walk around and drift (la dérive as we used to say) through the city experiencing moods and feeling different states of mind depending from the location he/she would find himself/herself in. Today the flaneur still exist, but instead of just sitting at a café he/she would also walk around, maybe with a camera (like I would do!) depicting what lays around his/her existence from a one shot point of view. A shot of reality bound by the frame of the camera and discover hidden layers of society and of the urban landscape.
Like someone once said (I have this quote but I do not recall who said it!) :

"The photographer is an armed version of the solitary walker reconnoitering, stalking, cruising the urban inferno, the voyeuristic stroller who discovers the city as a landscape of voluptuous extremes. Adept of the joys of watching, connoisseur of empathy, the flâneur finds the world 'picturesque".

I can't wait to go to Paris! Sit down au Café de Flore like Hemingway and watch people during their everyday routines. Take out my notebook/sketchbook and just write, write and write. Whatever comes to my mind. And then walk around the Quartier Latin, go eat at the Brasserie Lipp or at La Coupole. Go to the Beaubourg, to the Fondation Cartier, to every corner of this amazing city and just enjoy it's everyday essence.


September 17, 2008 at 12:49 PM Melissa la O' said...

reading this and listening to the song, I really felt paris! it's incredible, the way you wrote about it, it's what I have always felt about paris, but never quite put it in words!

is november good? or early december?