robertogreco + flaneur   29

Teju Cole en Instagram: “⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The Starbucks thing hit me harder than I expected. I've been brooding for days. On the face of it, it's inconsequential. It is…”
"The Starbucks thing hit me harder than I expected. I've been brooding for days. On the face of it, it's inconsequential. It is certainly inconsequential in direct comparison to the "newsworthy" horrors we are used to. No one was shot. Nobody died.
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It happened on an ordinary day in an ordinary place. But that's also the reason it stings: precisely because of that ordinariness. Show of hands: who's ever been to a Starbucks? It happened in Starbucks, with their overpriced faux-Italian drinks, to people like us, doing the things we do, waiting for a friend to arrive before ordering.
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Keen-eared Professor Iyer notes that playing overhead during the arrest was Dizzy Gillespie's Salt Peanuts. A compact contemporary history of public space could be written with the title "Black Music, Yes! Black People, No!"
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We are not safe even in the most banal place. We are not equal even in the most common circumstances. We are always five minutes away from having our lives upended. Racism is not about actively doing stuff to you all the time—it's also about passively keeping you on tenterhooks. We are always one sour white away from having the cops arrive. And the cops! The cops are like a machine that can’t stop once set in motion, what Fela called "zombie." When the cops arrive, the human aspect of the encounter is over.
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This is why I always say you can't be a black flaneur. Flanerie is for whites. For blacks in white terrain, all spaces are charged. Cafes, restaurants, museums, shops. Your own front door. This is why we are compelled, instead, to practice psychogeography. We wander alert, and pay a heavy psychic toll for that vigilance. Can't relax, black."
tejucole  2018  starbucks  flaneur  psychogeography  race  racism  blackness  us 
april 2018 by robertogreco
Due North | VQR Online
"I arrived in New York in October 2005 and immediately began walking all over the city, exploring for hours at a time. As I traversed its landscape, I discovered a topography of social conditions. Some days, I would linger on Thirty-Fourth Street among the glamorous workers of Midtown Manhattan rushing to and from their high-rise buildings—in swift pursuit of their ambitions, I’d assumed. I’d watch them zigzag around and dart past the enthusiastic tourists filing into the Empire State Building, that colossus rising majestically above as a beacon of hope and symbol of American derring-do.

Then I’d stride northward, eager to explore Whitman’s “Numberless crowded streets – high growths of iron, slender, strong, light, splendidly uprising toward clear skies.” A little over two hours later, I would end up in Harlem at the courtyard of a housing project on 125th Street, where residents lounged on benches and welcomed each other with cheerful banter. They also welcomed me, and I sat beside them, took one of the kiddie’s box drinks they offered, and enjoyed their jovial talk in that relaxed, open space in Harlem far removed from the hurried dynamism of Midtown.

But as I’ve circulated through New York’s streets, nothing reveals the city’s opposites in stark juxtaposition like the walk from the Upper East Side to the South Bronx, two neighborhoods separated by a brisk ninety-minute walk, or a quick twelve-minute subway ride. I’d call them neighbors were it not so clear that they occupy such distinctly different worlds. To walk the streets from one to the other, as I often do, is to bear witness to a landscape of asymmetry. The city that comes into view is one of uneven terrain, vistas of opportunity alongside pockets of deep poverty too often lost in the periphery.

In early 2006, almost six months after moving to the city, I was hobbled from roaming around because of a botched surgery on my right knee. A few months later, I switched hospitals to the Hospital for Special Surgery, located on the Upper East Side, where I eventually underwent two more surgeries to get back to walking the streets without chronic pain. As a result of the operations and follow-up physical therapy, the Upper East Side became a regular destination. I spent a lot of time watching people go about their lives, many of whom were middle- and working-class people employed in hospitals, museums, universities, hotels, and elsewhere on the Upper East Side. Plentiful as these workers were, they didn’t define the neighborhood—at least, not in a way that forcefully impresses itself upon the mind when you think of the Upper East Side. No, the population that embosses its mark on the neighborhood is the wealthy—the extraordinarily wealthy, to be precise.

The Upper East Side houses one of the richest zip codes in the US. This wealth touches almost everything in its vicinity. Many of the less-flush people I met going about their days worked at institutions that were among the world’s finest—the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Hospital for Special Surgery—and that were easy access for their upper-class neighbors. In addition to stellar medical care and world-class museums, I’d walk past some of the city’s best private schools, public libraries abuzz with parents and nannies—many of whom were foreigners—playing with children, and music schools with eager and not-so-eager kids developing their skills. Here was a neighborhood stocked with the resources for worldly success.

Walking through that part of the Upper East Side was not unlike a jaunt in a museum. On Park or Fifth Avenue, for example, one could walk for hours and admire magnificent buildings fronted by well-manicured gardens and quiet, clean sidewalks. Serenity suffused the atmosphere. Nothing seemed out of place, and, to my untrained eye, it all looked unspoiled.

There are stunning apartment buildings that look like cathedrals in high heels. Überchic boutiques—throne rooms of specialization meant to cater to people with the most rarefied, and demanding, of tastes—abound. You can pick up scented shoelaces for your teen daughter from a store filled with accessories for tweens, buy a bra for a few hundred dollars from an Italian lingerie store, and then drop off your puppy for a spa day, all in under a half hour. And, shhh, the stores were very quiet, I’ll-glare-if-you-speak-loudly quiet. I was often hushed, too, since sticker shock often dumbfounds me. Though, I should confess, something perverse in me wanted me to scream upon entering those hush-up stores.

All around are luxe restaurants with patrons to match, and sophisticated bistros with fresh-looking, pleasant-smelling—oh, those lovely scents!—upscale clientele. And for outdoor relaxation and play, Central Park is a quick stroll away—across the road, even. It’s as if the neighborhood was curated to cater to the needs and pleasures of its wealthy residents. Dig through the historical record and you’ll find that, indeed, starting with Fifth Avenue in the late nineteenth century, later joined in the early twentieth century by Park (formerly Fourth) Avenue, elegance and convenience have characterized the Upper East Side’s moneyed class and its tony residences.

Yet, for all its beauty, the neighborhood today feels like a welcome mat with spikes, or, more aptly, like a museum after closing time. You could stand nearby and look in, but that’s as far as you could go: admiration from a distance. My feet met their limit.

So much of the lives of the very wealthy was a mystery to me, not least because I couldn’t hope to stand and chat with them. The city was this enticing language I was learning, but they were a cipher. They lived, as my friend and walking companion Suketu once put it to me, in vertical gated communities—fortresses within layers of insulation. I’d see them shuttle from cabs or chauffeur-driven cars into their elegant buildings fronted by attentive doormen. Or I’d see them interacting with each other as I strolled past a posh establishment. They were sharply dressed ghosts; I would see them for a brief moment, only for them to quickly disappear into vehicles or buildings as mysteriously as they came.

There was a come-hither-stay-away quality to it all. Apartment lobbies looked inviting, but dapper doormen in their white shirts and black ties stood between you and them. Brownstones were beguiling, but you dared not sit on their steps. And I couldn’t shake the feeling that someone my shade, the color of the neighborhood’s nannies and gardeners and janitors but not their neighbors (at least, none that I saw), was more unwelcome on a stranger’s stoop.

Nor would I ever see people hanging out on their own steps. The beauty of the Upper East Side, the visual allure, had a placidity I felt detached from. There was something disquieting about all that silence. Certainly, one of the joys of living in the city is the wonderful solitude it affords, the option to, as E. B. White memorably put it, opt out and announce, “I did not attend.” The city is a place of escape as much as it’s one of pilgrimage, and, to someone outside of their circle passing through, the affluent inhabitants of the Upper East Side resemble a group who entered a compact to “not attend.” The serenity felt fragile, and I feared that if I did anything that was perceived as a threat to it, no matter how simple—approaching that friendly face to have a chat, leaning over to inhale perfumy flowers—that I would be promptly reminded that I could inhabit those streets only so much.

When I leave the Upper East Side on foot, the streets declare it to me almost immediately. I cross Ninety-Sixth Street—on Park Avenue, say, and the picturesque quickly recedes. Islands of gardens are supplanted by train tracks that tear out of the ground and rise alongside and above houses, transporting streams of Metro-North trains and dispersing noise across the neighborhood. Pristine sidewalks are replaced by dusty ones, and time and again micro-dirt tornadoes, with candy wrappers within, whirl around. And luxury mansions are replaced by tenement-type buildings, row houses, and “superblocks” of housing projects.

And the population becomes increasingly darker. A lot more. And friendlier. A lot more. More Spanish is heard (significantly so), more bodegas are seen on corners, and the hum of the Upper East Side gives way to a skipping, sometimes clamoring, beat. (On weekends with good weather, there are block parties aplenty). You almost begin to wonder—at least, I often do—if East Harlem is the town crier announcing, “Yeah, you’ve left the Upper East Side. The South Bronx is three miles, and an hour’s walk, thataway.”"



"On the way back home, Suketu drove through the Upper East Side, past glittery boutiques and sexy bistros, enticing department stores and showy high-rise apartment buildings. At that moment, I recognized that, for me, there wasn’t much difference between cutting through the neighborhood on foot and in a car. There was, of course. But leaving from Hunts Point, where time in a car away from residents removes so much of the neighborhood’s pleasure, and arriving in the Upper East Side around fifteen minutes later, only to recognize that I felt at arm’s length from a lot of its residents even when I walked through, reminded me that inequality also deprives the very wealthy. In ensconcing themselves in their circles, the very wealthy had cut themselves off from a range of perspectives and temperaments and stories—stories that are a central part of their city’s vibrancy and appeal. In Hunts Point, I witnessed deprivation due to an absence of resources; in the Upper East Side, I witnessed deprivation of a different, but related sort: the absence of enriching interactions.

I became an obsessive walker as a matter of necessity. Too poor to take taxis when I was growing up in Jamaica, and living in a … [more]
walking  serendipity  2014  garnettecadogan  nyc  inequality  discovery  wonder  possibility  ebwhite  wealth  waltwhitman  rebeccasolnit  micheldecerteau  observation  flaneur 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Whyfinding: what pervasive gaming has taught me about 3D videogame design | Christy's Corner of the Universe
"The thing I came back to was my experience with pervasive games. Those games set in the actual world — on websites, social media, newspaper, in your street. Is my frustration because I’m corrupted by my background designing and playing pervasive games? In pervasive games I could actually pick up a bow. I could actually be crawling through the cave. Is the problem that I want the seamlessness of mission play and can’t get it in some 3D games? So I played with that idea. What is the difference in how the missions would be designed and experienced in a pervasive game versus a 3D digital game?"



"Looking for Internally-Motivated Navigation

I looked at works that seem to be about this internally-driven navigation of space: Michel de Certeau’s ‘Walking in the City’ in The Practice of Everyday Life [PDF], Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space [PDF]; Walter Benjamin’s The Arcade Project [PDF], John Stilgoe’s Outside Lies Magic, and Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust: A History of Walking. I jumped from flâneurs to the larp movement to (with the help of Johanna MacDonald) Laban drives (link, link) — all in the hope of finding design techniques relating to internal motivation. I remembered my theatre experiences and thought maybe that relates to my type of play.

These works are all about internally-driven movement, but specifically about a free-movement, where you walk (or run) where you please and with a particular way of seeing. This is related, but doesn’t explain exactly what I’m talking about. A common thread in these works, however, is that it is about being present in the moment…in the world…in the streets. I look around to the rise of digital exploration games, and see a similar trend. Indeed, I don’t think the growing attraction to open world games, experiential games, and thin play is  coincidental. These are parallel phenomena that speak of an urge for a different kind of experience: one of being present in the (digital) world. But these types of experiences are often couched in phrases such as agency or choice that an open world games affords, such as the “exploring freedom in World of Warcraft.

There are many reasons for the attraction to these types of experiences (both as designers and players), including having an alternative to the magical dad stories of first-person shooters, and the reflection a “walking simulator” affords. Indeed, there are more and more of these sorts of games, or “first person exploration games, ” “first person adventure,” “story exploration games,” “a game of audio-visual exploration,” “non-combative exploration games,” or “not games,” or whatever. There are well known ones such as Gone Home, Dear Esther, Proteus, Bientôt l’Été, as well as ones more recent or in development such as Ether One, Dream, Sunset, Firewatch, Virginia, and HomeMake, and Hohokum.

I believe that one of the attracting factors of these games is the desire for intrinsically-motivated movement. (This trait, however, certainly isn’t shared by all of the community-created “walking simulator” tags on Steam.)

It isn’t as if exploration is ignored in conventional videogame and theme park design though. For instance, Scott Rogers talks about enabling exploration by creating subpaths or alternate paths that people discover that get them to the main attractions. But this way of navigating space is different. It isn’t just about exploring space either. Most of the internally-driven movement I found though, was about exploring or viewing space differently. There is something else. Then I found it.”
videogames  situationist  worldofwarcraft  digital  sandboxgames  freedom  exploration  flaneur  derive  2014  johnstilgoe  larp  larping  gastonbachelard  micheldecerteau  walterbenjamin  rebeccasolnit  wandering  whyfinding  pervasivegames  gaming  games  play  maps  mapping  landscapes  landscape  gamedesign  motivation  visualattention  attention  christydena  experience  dérive 
august 2014 by robertogreco
BBC News - The slow death of purposeless walking
"A number of recent books have lauded the connection between walking - just for its own sake - and thinking. But are people losing their love of the purposeless walk?"
walking  thinking  2014  flaneur  wandering  charlesdickens  georgeorwell  patrickleigh  constantinbrancusi  thoreau  thomasdequincey  nassimtaleb  nietzsche  brucechatwin  wgebald  johnfrancis  fredericgros  geoffnicholson  merlincoverley  observation  attention  mindfulness  rebeccasolnit  finlorohrer  vladimirnabokov 
may 2014 by robertogreco
La Forme de Flâner — Dorian Taylor
""Never run for the train," proclaimed Nassim Taleb in The Black Swan. It's something of a gnomic statement, coming from an independently wealthy, born-again slacker, albeit one who I believe is on to something. I think about this statement a lot, because it embodies something we don't have very good language for in the professional discourse around things made of pure thought-stuff.

Our dominant paradigm is couched in language of comparative efficiency. We focus on becoming lean from trimming off the fat of bureaucratic processes, and remaining agile to respond quickly to the bewilderingly capricious environment that snares lumbering megafauna. This is an enormous achievement. It is also enormously limiting.

My problem with this paradigm is that we can only get so lean before becoming anorexic, and only so agile before burning out. It's unsustainable and we have to stop eventually. Perhaps most significant, though, is that efficiency is antithetical to what we do.

Our raw material is information, which, despite tremendous advances in its storage, transport and manipulation, still exhibits peculiar properties. It must be recognized, gathered, concentrated, operated on, arranged, displayed, communicated and understood. Information is scattered around space and time, and often buried far from the surface. It is also rarely substitutable: if we need a particular piece of information, we must expend exactly the effort required to get it. It follows that in order to know how to optimize the work around information, we must already have done it.
If that statement was false, there would be no need for empiricism at all, because all knowledge could be reasoned, including knowledge about how long it takes to reason.

I worry that our fervour to get leaner and more agile will eventually starve us of our perceptual acuity, memory, and ultimately our wisdom. But I'm not precisely advocating slowing down, as much as I am suggesting aligning with the cosmos in a way that makes fast not necessary.

The ethos that embodies such an alignment, I believe, is that of the flâneur. To flâne is to amble about with no outwardly discernible mission, taking interest in whatever presents itself wherever and whenever you are. We don't have a word for this in English, at least not one that doesn't import some form of morally reprehensible, even parasitic quality.

The inscrutability of the state of flâner does not necessarily entail that it is unproductive. Certain results are indeed either better or only achieved en flânant, namely those that depend on a complex synthesis of diverse material from disparate and eclectic sources. Like the kind of precursor material you need to write a book. Or a song. Or an app.

Flânerie has found its way into design literature, albeit not always explicitly. Bill Buxton mentions phases of divergence interspersed with those of convergence, to arrive eventually at a successful outcome. Herbert Simon wrote that when designing a system, we should operate for a period with no objective in mind whatsoever. In a keynote, Alan Cooper argued the futility of racing to be second to market versus waiting for the precocious to make their mistakes—the iPod to the Archos Jukebox. This is the kind of sentiment I want to harness.

Why not run for the train? Because another train will be along shortly. Such is the nature of trains. Running will cause you to miss everything between you and your object, and more often than not leave you disappointed and out of breath.

To flâne is to be neither lean nor agile, but comfortably plump. Relaxed. Zaftig even. A flâneur never runs for the train because of his commitment to serendipity, and because he was clever enough to invest in a schedule."
design  flaneur  walking  doriantaylor  meandering  noticing  dérive  derive  efficiency  information  patternrecognition  understanding  slow  haste  relaxed  agile  nassimtaleb 
march 2014 by robertogreco
A book for winter / Snarkmarket
"As I read, and after, I found Hild’s way of thinking seeping into my brain. She is a scientist before science, a flâneuse before Paris or anything remotely approaching it. She is a watcher, a pattern-finder, a naturalist growing into a politician. In an email, I told Nicola that after I read her book, I found myself
paying more attention the natural world, & not just in passing, but with patience. I thought specifically of Hild the other afternoon when I was in my backyard & saw a giant spider on its web. I bent down close, inspected it, watched it for a while. It really does require patience, and a conviction that, you know, this is a totally legitimate way to spend your time.
"
robinsloan  2013  books  nature  noticing  observation  slow  patternfinding  flaneur 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Aesthetics of Dispersed Attention: Interview with German Media Theorist Petra Löffler :: net critique by Geert Lovink
"GL: You got a fascinating chapter in your habilitation about early cinema and the scattering of attention it would be responsible for. The figure of the nosy parker that gawks interests you and you contrast it to the street roaming flaneur.

PL: Yes, the gawker is a fascinating figure, because according to my research results it is the corporation of the modern spectator who is also a member of a mass audience––the flaneur never was part of it. The gawker or gazer, like the flaneur, appeared at first in the modern metropolis with its multi-sensorial sensations and attractions. According to Walter Benjamin the flaneur disappeared at the moment, when the famous passages were broken down. They had to make room for greater boulevards that were able to steer the advanced traffic in the French metropolis. Always being part of the mass of passers-by the gawker looks at the same time for diversions, for accidents and incidents in the streets. This is to say his attention is always distracted between an awareness of what happens on the streets and navigating between people and vehicles. No wonder movie theatres were often opened at locations with a high level of traffic inviting passers-by to go inside and, for a certain period of time, becoming part of an audience. Furthermore many films of the period of Early Cinema were actualities showing the modern city-life. In these films the movie-camera was positioned at busy streets or corners in order to record movements of human and non-human agents. Gawkers often went into the view of the camera gesticulating or grimacing in front of it. That’s why the gawker has become a very popular figure mirroring the modern mass audience on the screen.

Today to view one’s own face on a screen is an everyday experience. Not only CCTV-cameras at public spaces record passers-by, often without their notice. Also popular TV-shows that require life-participation such as casting shows once more offer members of the audience the opportunity to see themselves on a screen. At the same time many people post their portraits on websites of social networks. They want to be seen by others because they want to be part of a greater audience––the network community. This is what Jean Baudrillard has called connectivity. The alliance between the drive to see and to being seen establishes a new order of seeing which differs significantly from Foucault’s panoptical vision: Today no more the few see the many (panopticon) or the many see the few (popular stars)––today, because of the multiplication and connectivity of screens in public and private spaces, the many see the many. Insofar, one can conclude, the gawker or gazer is an overall-phenomenon, a non-specific subjectivity of a distributed publicity."



"GL: I can imagine that debates during the rise of mass education, the invention of film are different from ours. But is that the case? It is all pedagogy, so it seems. We never seem to leave the classroom.

PL: The question is, leaving where? Entering the other side (likewise amusement sites or absorbing fantasies)? Why not? Changing perspectives? Yes, that’s what we have to do. But for that purpose we don’t have to leave the classroom necessarily. Rather, we should rebuilt it as a room of testing modes of thinking in very concrete ways. I’m thinking of Jacques Rancière’s suggestions, in his essay Le partage du sensible, about the power relation between teachers and pupils. Maybe today teachers can learn more (for instance soft skills) from their pupils than the other way around. We need other regimes of distribution of power, also in the classroom, a differentiation of tasks, of velocities and singularities—in short: we need micropolitics.

More seriously, your question indicates a strong relationship between pedagogy and media. There’s a reason why media theorists like Friedrich Kittler had pointed to media’s affinity to propaganda and institutions of power. I think of his important book Discourse Networks, where he has revealed the relevance of mediated writing techniques for the formation of educational institutions and for subjectivation. That’s why the question is, what are the tasks we have to learn in order to exist in the world of electronic mass media? What means ‘Bildung’ for us nowadays?

GL: There is an ‘attention war’ going on, with debates across traditional print and broadcast media about the rise in distraction, in schools, at home. On the street we see people hooked on their smart phones, multitasking, everywhere they go. What do you make of this? This is just a heightened sensibility, a fashion, or is there really something at stake? Would you classify it as petit-bourgeois anxieties? Loss of attention as a metaphor for threatening poverty and status loss of the traditional middle class in the West? How do you read the use of brain research by Nicholas Carr, Frank Schirrmacher and more recently also the German psychiatrist Manfred Spitzer who came up with a few bold statement concerning the devastating consequences of computer use for the (young) human brain. Having read your study one could say: don’t worry, nothing new under the sun. But is this the right answer?

PL: Your description addresses severe debates. Nothing less than the future of our Western culture seems to be at stake. Institutions like the educational systems are under permanent critique, concerning all levels from primary schools to universities. That’s why the Pisa studies have revealed a lot of deficits and have provoked debates on what kind of education is necessary for our children. On the one hand it’s a debate on cultural values, but on the other it’s a struggle on power relations. We are living in a society of control, and how to become a subject and how this subject is related to other subjects in mediated environments are important questions.

A great uncertainty is emerged. That’s why formulas that promise easy solutions are highly welcomed. Neurological concepts are often based on one-sided models concerning the relationship between body and mind, and they often leave out the role of social and environmental factors. From historians of science such as Canguilhem and Foucault one can learn that psychiatrist models of brain defects and mental anomalies not only mirror social anxieties, but also produce knowledge about what is defined as normal. And it is up to us as observers of such discourses to name those anxieties today. Nonetheless, I would not signify distraction as a metaphor. It is in fact a concrete phase of the body, a state of the mind. It’s real. You cannot deal with it when you call it a disability or a disease and just pop pills or switch off your electronic devices."
via:litherland  attention  distraction  2013  petralöffer  geertlovink  walterbenjamin  flaneur  gawkers  cities  internet  audience  diaphanesverlag  montaigne  albertkümmel  siegfriedkracauer  frankfurterschule  kant  tibot  psychology  daydreaming  media  mediaarchaeology  richardshusterman  film  micropolitics  friederichkittler  education  subjectivation  massmedia  bildung  nicholascarr  sherryturkle  frankschirrmacher  culture  values  culturalvalues  brain  bernardstiegler  socialmedia  marketing  entertainment  propaganda  deepreading  petersloterdijk  mindfulness  self-control  mediatheory  theory  theodoradorno  weimar  history  philosophy  reading  writing  data  perception  siegfriedzielinski  wolfgangernst  bernhardsiegert  erhardschüttpelz  francoberardi  andrewkeen  jaronlanier  howardrheingold  foucault  micheldemontaigne  michelfoucault 
october 2013 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Journal: Watch Dogs and world creation
"Watch Dogs feels hugely appealing, as it was with a short clip of another game based in Paris 2084 posted to The Verge the other day, simply because it suggests the possibility of wandering around in a semi-fictional city as escapist pastime. No plot, no narrative, just exploring something which is a parallel urban universe (temporarily, dramatically, architecturally.)

Partly this is appealing as urban walking is an occupation of mine in real cities, from Geneva to Los Angeles to many more not written up. And partly as the other narrative forms I enjoy the most often create a world—and often an urban world—as a core character. For example, and purely at random. Bullitt and Collateral and Will Eisner and Bleak House and Chavez Ravine and  Warren Ellis's excellent recent novel Gun Machine, which Watch Dogs appears to share some similarities with, by the way. World building more broadly, outside of cities, also seems a characteristic of compelling narrative formats, from West Wing to Borgen via Lost and Eastenders to Swallows and Amazons."
architecture  cities  games  gaming  2013  danhill  videogames  watchdogs  exploration  flaneur  urban  urbanism  worldbuilding 
may 2013 by robertogreco
cityofsound: Journal: Video game flâneur
"Rockstar and others have virtually (pun intended) built the digital infrastructure to generate generic large city forms. All they have to do is drape a particular cultural fabric over it, and the architecture, clothes, music, adverts etc. all just fall into place, as defined by a talented new form of 'curator' perhaps. (Hey Rockstar, if you're listening, I'll have that job!).

[Thought about this before, after reading about Gangs of New York and similar potential in films; read also about the way Rockstar design this stuff; about some future potential of Rockstar's city-based games; and Manhattan as muse for video games.]

If it is The Warriors, then just inhabiting a version of NYC in the early 80s would be a blast. One of my favourite near-mythical urban eras, as witnessed in the incredibly flawed but compelling film Downtown 81. I'd struggle to do address any of the usual Rockstar narrative ploys though, instead trying to track down John Zorn, Arto Lindsay & DNA, Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel, The Kitchen, James White & The Blacks, Talking Heads, Thurston Moore, Basquiat etc. Materialising in the almost deserted early-80s Lower East Side, I'd probably get my head kicked in anyway (which is standard Rockstar plot device of course)."
gta  danhill  videogames  gaming  archives  exploration  immersion  nyc  cities  flaneur  games  grandtheftauto 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Urban guides for cyberflâneurs - Reading Room - Domus [Review of Kati Krause's, A Smart Guide to Utopia and P. D. Smith's City. A Guidebook for the Urban Age]
"With a renewed understanding of the concept of city as a living organism…and focused on the power of small actions beyond large-scale urban planning, the book offers a comprehensive tour through spatial practices, diy networks, guerrilla activism and urban farmers, among others. More than a guide to discovering a city, it is a guide about how to make cities more liveable through small, simple interventions. Some of these actions embrace a new technological approach, such as the use of smartphones to enhance the urban experience."

"The book also talks about urban life, religion, street art, waterfronts, traffic jams and many other things that shape our urban experiences, despite the fact that we may often think they are disconnected from each other. As Smith points out, this is the age of the Edge City, where the age-old distinctions between urban and suburban are disappearing, leaving us immersed in a landscape without boundaries where distance is only a subjective feeling."
history  pdsmith  urbanexploration  baudelaire  cyberflaneurism  petercook  mariapopova  adamgreenfield  toread  cities  activism  technology  interventions  urbanfarms  urbanfarming  networks  diynetworks  diy  2012  landscape  place  edgecity  ethelbaraona  utopia  urbanplanning  benhammersley  flaneur  urbanism  urban  books  katikraus  from delicious
july 2012 by robertogreco
Drift: an app for getting lost in familiar places | Broken City Lab
"Finally launched and available in the iOS App Store! [http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/drift/id524083174 ]

Drift helps you get lost in familiar places by guiding you on a walk using randomly assembled instructions. Each instruction will ask you to move in a specific direction and, using the compass, look for something normally hidden or unnoticed in our everyday experiences.

As you find these hidden or unnoticed things, you will be asked to document them with the camera, creating a photographic record of you walk. Drift also keeps track of where and when you took the photos and makes your documentation optionally available for others to view through the Drift website.

Drift was made possible with the generous support from the Ontario Arts Council Media Arts Grant for Emerging Artists.

Drift was developed by Justin Langlois in collaboration with Broken City Lab.

This project was generously supported by the Ontario Arts Council Media Arts Grant for Emerging Artists."
2012  observation  documentation  photography  justinlanglois  psychogeography  experience  everydaylife  everyday  compass  cities  brokencitylab  drift  iphone  ios  applications  noticing  exploration  walking  situationist  flaneur  derive  dérive  from delicious
may 2012 by robertogreco
Will Self: Walking is political | Books | The Guardian
"A century ago, 90% of Londoners' journeys under six miles were made on foot. Now we are alienated from the physical reality of our cities. Will Self on the importance of walking in the fight against corporate control"

"Borges's animals and beggars are those who still seek the disciplines of physical geography – we understand that to walk the city and its environs is, in a very powerful sense, to use it. The contemporary flâneur is by nature and inclination a democratising force who seeks equality of access, freedom of movement and the dissolution of corporate and state control."
humanconnection  humanconnectivity  connectivity  human  society  indifference  friedrichengels  gps  london  thomasdequincey  moritzretszch  edgarallanpoe  wandering  wanderlust  rebeccasolnit  epicurus  thecityishereforyoutouse  geography  democracy  freedomofmovement  freedom  access  movement  flaneur  borges  cities  place  space  limitedspace  psychogeography  urbanism  urban  transportation  control  corporatism  willself  2012  walking  from delicious
april 2012 by robertogreco
Flaneurism shouldn’t be easy | I Am Pete Ashton
"When you think about it, relying on the likes of Google, YouTube, Facebook et al stand up for the niche and the curious is pretty naive. Where their interests coincide they will side with the mainstream, and those interests will coincide more and more. We can’t rely on large Internet companies to look after this stuff – Yahoo’s half-arsed custody of Flickr should have taught us that. If we’re going to have an infrastructure that enables the spirit of the cyberflaneur to thrive we’re going to have to build and maintain it ourselves, above and beyond the financial blinkers of the mainstream.

One of the most surprising things about the Internet is how people think there’s a single monolithic culture. There used to be, back when access was difficult and determined by circumstance. But it’s not like that now. The Internet is for everything and everyone, which means it’s like everything else, prone to mediocrity and abuses of power…"
monoculture  discovery  diy  serendipity  stateoftheweb  exploration  psychogeography  online  web  flaneur  cyberflaneurism  2012  evgenymorozov  peteashton 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Stadtblind » The Colors of Berlin
"The Colors of Berlin is for tourists and Berliners. The book is a unique tool for urban exploration, serving both as inspiration for a personal vision and documentation of the city. It is a declaration of love to Berlin. It helps the flaneur and the city-lover see and experience the urban landscape in a new way. Stadtblind’s aim is to create a distance from that which is familiar, to re-frame the familiar in such a way that it becomes fresh, worthy of attention and affection. We present the everyday spaces, objects and surfaces of contemporary Berlin ina manner that provides a new means of perceiving cities. It is precisely the everyday aspects of our lives that are most often overlooked; and it is precisely the everyday that most constitutes our lived experience of cities."

[via: http://youarehere2011.wordpress.com/suggested-reading/ ]
berlin  travel  psychogeography  derive  2005  cities  cityguides  exploration  urban  urbanism  flaneur  situationist  dérive  from delicious
november 2011 by robertogreco
Welcome to the Flaneur Society
"The Flaneur Society was created in response to Walter Benjamin's book Berlin Childhood Around 1900. In it he explores the concept of the Flaneur, one who wanders without destination.

Intrigued by this concept, the society was created to spread the concept of the Flaneur beyond academic studies and into the general consciousness of how we think of urban spaces.

The Guidebook to Getting Lost is a small pocket sized book which defines the concept of the Flaneur. Using the language of the Park Service and backcountry maps, the guide aims to introduce the participant to a city without the concern of street names and directions. Inside, there are three maps which can guide the participant to a state of Flaneuring. A PDF of the guidebook can be downloaded here." [PDF: http://www.flaneursociety.org/guide.pdf ]

[Tumblr: http://flaneursociety.tumblr.com/ ]
flaneur  situationist  walking  wandering  sanfrancisco  walterbenjamin  maps  mapping  derive  via:maryannreilly  ralphwaldoemerson  iste-fringe2012  dérive  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
Between the By-Road and the Main Road: Being in the Middle: Learning Walks
"So imagine a commitment to learning that involved making regular learning walks with high school students as a normal part of the "school" day. Now, these learning walks should not be confused with walking tours, which are designed based on planned outcomes. One walks to point X in order to see object or artifact Y. The points are predetermined, hierarchical in design.

Instead, learning walks are rhizomatic. They are inherently about being in the middle of things and coming to learn what could not been predetermined. Learning walks are part of the "curriculum" for instructional seminar (which I described here)."

[My comments cross-posted here: http://robertogreco.tumblr.com/post/7182110515/walking-and-learning ]
maryannreilly  comments  walking  walkshops  adamgreenfield  flaneur  psychogeography  derive  dérive  education  learning  schools  teaching  unschooling  deschooling  noticing  observation  seeing  2011  rhizomaticlearning  johnseelybrown  douglasthomas  unguided  self-directedlearning  serendipity  johnberger  willself  rebeccasolnit  sistercorita  maps  mapping  photography  alanfletcher  lawrenceweschler  kerismith  exploration  exploring  johnstilgoe  noticings  rjdj  ios  situationist  situatedlearning  situated  hototoki  serendipitor  flow  mihalycsikszentmihalyi  experience  control  ego  cv  coritakent  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
Situationist App By Benrik
[Now banned by the iTunes Store]

"What is Situationist? Situationist is an iPhone app that makes your everyday life more thrilling and unpredictable. It alerts members to each other's proximity and gets them to interact in random "situations". These situations vary from the friendly "Hug me for 5 seconds exactly" or "Compliment me on my haircut", to the subversive eg "Help me rouse everyone around us into revolutionary fervour and storm the nearest TV station". Members simply upload their photo and pick the situations they want to happen to them from a shortlist, in the knowledge that they might then occur anywhere, and at any time.

Who is behind it? Benrik, artists and authors of the cult bestselling "Diary Will Change Your Life" series."

[via: http://thenextweb.com/apps/2011/03/07/dont-like-strangers-situationist-for-the-iphone-wants-to-change-that/ ]
iphone  ios  situationist  behavior  applications  art  derive  flaneur  dérive  psychogeography  from delicious
march 2011 by robertogreco
space clearing (15 Jan., 2011, at Interconnected)
"Constrained walks and the dérive both reveal the city's psychogeography, and force the city to give up more of itself. It's funny to find, right on my doorstep, the streets I didn't know that I didn't know, the ones I'd got the unknown habit of avoiding. The city grows.

Space clearing makes visible and disrupts the psychogeography of my home. By standing in far corners, I find new perspectives. I strengthen rarely visited spots in my own mental map. Later, I find myself noticing the corners more. My house looks larger. The changed shape of my rooms encourages me to walk differently about the space. I stand in slightly unfamiliar spots, look at my bookshelves with a new-found unfamiliarity, and this prompts new combinations of titles to come to my attention, and new ideas.

I wonder if I could make something to do this for me? Maybe a robot vacuum cleaner programmed to find rarely visited corners and play an attention-grabbing sample, hey, over here, over here."
space  perspective  mattwebb  situationist  dérive  psychogeography  robots  constraints  flaneur  cities  homes  spaceclearing  mentalmaps  mapping  maps  attention  2011  derive  from delicious
january 2011 by robertogreco
Amazon.com: Wanderlust: A History of Walking (9780140286014): Rebecca Solnit: Books: Reviews, Prices & more
"Walking, as Thoreau said and Solnit elegantly demonstrates, inevitably leads to other subjects. This pleasing and enlightening history of pedestrianism unfolds like a walking conversation with a particularly well-informed companion with wide-ranging interests. Walking, says Solnit, is the state in which the mind, the body and the world are aligned; thus she begins with the long historical association between walking and philosophizing. She briefly looks at the fossil evidence of human evolution, pointing to the ability to move upright on two legs as the very characteristic that separated humans from the other beasts and has allowed us to dominate them. She looks at pilgrims, poets, streetwalkers and demonstrators, and ends up, surprisingly, in Las Vegas--or maybe not so surprisingly in that city of tourists, since "Tourism itself is one of the last major outposts of walking." …"
rebeccasolnit  flaneur  walking  books  toread  history  pedestrians  philosophy  evolution  science  anthropology  culture  thoreau  waltwhitman  from delicious
november 2010 by robertogreco
Serendipitor
"Serendipitor is an alternative navigation app for the iPhone that helps you find something by looking for something else. The app combines directions generated by a routing service (in this case, the Google Maps API) with instructions for action and movement inspired by Fluxus, Vito Acconci, and Yoko Ono, among others. Enter an origin and a destination, and the app maps a route between the two. You can increase or decrease the complexity of this route, depending how much time you have to play with. As you navigate your route, suggestions for possible actions to take at a given location appear within step-by-step directions designed to introduce small slippages and minor displacements within an otherwise optimized and efficient route. You can take photos along the way and, upon reaching your destination, send an email sharing with friends your route and the steps you took."

[See also: http://vimeo.com/14205766 AND http://serialconsign.com/2010/09/out-wayfinding-serendipitor AND http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/09/serendipitor-gives-maps-and-navigation-a-gaming-layer/ ]
serendipity  wayfinding  maps  iphone  applications  serendipitor  mapping  discovery  exploration  vitoacconci  yokoono  fluxus  psychogeography  situationist  meandering  flaneur  derive  dérive  ios  from delicious
september 2010 by robertogreco
Serendipitor for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store
"Serendipitor is an alternative navigation app that helps you find something by looking for something else. Enter an origin and a destination, and the app maps a route between the two. You can increase or decrease the complexity of this route, depending how much time you have to play with. As you navigate your route, suggestions for possible actions to take at a given location appear within step-by-step directions designed to increase the likelihood that, in the end, you will have encounters you could never have pre-planned. You can take photos along the way and, upon reaching your destination, send an email sharing with friends your route and the steps you took."

[via: http://twitter.com/agpublic/status/21619402371 ]
serendipity  serendipitor  applications  iphone  maps  mapping  location  driftdeck  flaneur  wayfinding  navigation  gps  urban  urbanism  urbancomputing  urbanexploration  ios  from delicious
august 2010 by robertogreco
jeweled platypus · text · Grids of tubes and wires (the city and the internet)
"wrote an essay about how learning to use internet is like learning to live in city…for class where we read urban critics/philosophers/sociologists Walter Benjamin, Michel de Certeau, & Georg Simmel…lived in 19th & 20th centuries, talked about: what happens to people when they move to cities, how it feels to live in dense urban centers, & whether “the city” is imaginary place…Some of their concerns about experience of mass urbanization are similar to concerns…about experience of mass internet use: dealing w/ infooverload, wandering in non-linear fashion, learning unfamiliar interfaces, developing less sensitivity to shocking sights, finding connections w/in fragmented communities, encountering thousands of strangers every day, & acting badly when anonymous.

…resemblance btwn physical & virtual worlds is not surprising…“city is an archetype of human imagination”…social aspects of web modeled on places where many of its developers, entrepreneurs & designers live: SF, LA, NY…"

[via: http://twitter.com/tcarmody/status/21262061506 ]
walterbenjamin  micheldecerteau  georgsimmel  cities  2009  psychology  urbanism  urban  society  culture  city  internet  social  flickr  del.icio.us  youtube  flaneur  brittagustafson  online  web  urbanization  non-linearity  learning  explodingschool  colinward  strangers  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  fear  tcsnmy  anonymity  from delicious
august 2010 by robertogreco
TRANSFORMATIONS — Walter Benjamin and the Virtual: Politics, Art, and Mediation in the Age of Global Culture: From Flâneur to Web Surfer: Videoblogging, Photo Sharing and Walter Benjamin @ the Web 2.0 By Simon Lindgren
"This paper explores and illustrates how Benjamin’s analysis of the nineteenth century culture of consumption might contribute to an understanding of the new communal formations and self-reflexive subjectivities of the internet in the twenty-first century. Theoretically, this will be done with a specific focus on the concept of the flâneur as discussed in The Arcades Project (416-455), and on some lines of reasoning that are central to his essay on “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. The empirical emphasis will be on two examples of so called Web 2.0 technologies: the photo sharing service of flickr and the videoblogging functionality of YouTube."

[via: http://jeweledplatypus.org/cgi-bin/blosxom.cgi/text/citynet.html ]
urbanism  walterbenjamin  flaneur  culture  city  blogging  politics  urban  art  internet  web  flickr  youtube  virtual  situationist  global  from delicious
august 2010 by robertogreco
vélo-flâneur
"“Adept of the joys of watching, connoisseur of empathy, the flâneur finds the world ‘picturesque.’ ” – Susan Sontag
bikes  biking  blogs  flaneur  culture  economics  craft 
october 2009 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Bloomsday
"That is, should you want to describe a man's walk around the city in as detailed and realistic a way as possible, capturing every minor event and instant, then you would have to include the circumstances of that walk in their often bewildering totality: every fragmentary thought process, directionless flight of fancy, and irrelevant detail noticed along the way, via a million and one dead-ends. Things remembered and then forgotten. Deja vu.

That daydream you had early today? That was, Ulysses suggests, part of the infrastructure of the city you live in.

The city here becomes a kind of experiential labyrinth: it is something you walk through, certainly, but it is also something that rears up mythically to consume the thoughts of everyone residing within it."

AND

"Inspired by Bloomsday, then, it seems well-timed to ask not only how our cities can best be mapped – and if narrative is, in fact, the ideal cartographic strategy – but what other physical possibilities exist for narrative expression. Put another way: what if James Joyce had been raised in an era of cheap 3D printers?
After all, given the possibilities outlined above, we might even someday be justified in concluding that Dublin itself is a written text, and that Ulysses is simply its most famous translation."
bldgblog  jamesjoyce  ulysses  flaneur  urbanism  psychogeography  architecture  design  cities  dublin  literature  information  geography  cartography  maps  mapping  fabrication  fabbing  books  experience  narrative 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Clip From An Ailing Thesis
"best urban environments are walking cities...benefit greatly from diverse range of elements all occupying same space. NY, Rome, Barcelona: ...homes of the flaneur as we know him...must not forget that [he] is a farmer w/ different shoes. The wanderer, walker, one who experiences the environment around him with glee-- ...exists in the forest of skyscrapers & brownstones equally as well as the vistas & oaks of Small Towns...It is under this light that the link between urbanity & ruralism becomes clear. Structurally urbanism is more alienated from the suburban than from the rural environment. The rural & urban are modes of working with a limited given & applying ones means in an efficient manner. Typically this plays itself out in terms of limited urban space & unavailable rural funds. Can we develop a strategy for transitioning directly from the rural to urban? How do we ensure that our cities do not forget the frugality of their rural roots & develop accordingly as they expand?"
cities  walking  flaneur  via:preoccupations  nyc  rome  barcelona  urban  urbanism  rural  storytelling  scale  human 
april 2009 by robertogreco
Flâneur - Wikipedia
"In the context of modern-day architecture and urban planning, designing for flâneurs is one way to approach issues of the psychological aspects of the built environment. Architect Jon Jerde, for instance, designed his Horton Plaza and Universal CityWalk projects around the idea of providing surprises, distractions, and sequences of events for pedestrians." ... "The most notable application of flâneur to street photography probably comes from Susan Sontag in her 1977 essay, On Photography. She describes how, since the development of hand-held cameras in the early 20th century, the camera has become the tool of the flâneur: "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.' (pg. 55)""
situationist  photography  urban  urbanism  travel  philosophy  walking  art  culture  education  architecture  history  theory  baudelaire  flaneur  hortonplaza  sandiego  universalcitywalk  jonjerde  losangeles  psychogeography  observation  technology  susansontag  glvo  cv  via:blackbeltjones  derive  dérive 
february 2009 by robertogreco
Psychogeography - Wikipedia
"Psychogeography was defined in 1955 by Guy Debord as the "the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals."[1] Another definition is "a whole toy box full of playful, inventive strategies for exploring cities...just about anything that takes pedestrians off their predictable paths and jolts them into a new awareness of the urban landscape."[2] The most important of these strategies is the dérive."
psychogeography  situationist  cities  urban  urbanism  psychology  geography  place  maps  mapping  walking  socialsoftware  architecture  art  culture  community  collaboration  philosophy  guydebord  derive  flaneur  dérive 
february 2009 by robertogreco

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