Comments on Walter benjamin; Paris capitale du XIXe siècle.
Comments on form:
As he notices the apparition of a panoramic literature, contemporary to the panorama itself, Benjamin takes us in a photographic essay on Paris.
Benjamin uses the opening quotes with irresistible humor.
Comments on content:
Acceleration seems to be one of the underlined topic of this well-known piece. Acceleration of consumption (its built form being the arcades and the use of iron, its celebration being the great exhibit, and its museum, the interior); acceleration in representation with the panorama and the photography; acceleration in the urban control and its built form, the Haussmann plan. One pause in this haste: Beaudelaire’s flaneur.
Of course, each chronicle could merit a deep analysis as it is rich of different meanings and factual information.
Comments on Georg Simmel The Metropolis and Mental Life.
Reading this text, I realize how influential Georg Simmel has become, not only to Walter Benjamin but all the way to contemporary thinkers and other artists. These ideas of urban stimulation, the switch in the medium of exchange, the blasé, the antipathy of the metropolitan relationship and such are still recurrent themes in urban movies such as Subway, Midnight Cowboys, Kidz, to name only the ones which comes quickly to my mind. It makes me wonder if we still could read the and the citizen in such ways. Hasn’t The Arab Spring, the cacerolazo and such demonstrations showed us a very different citizen: collective, master of the surrounding technology, but foremost, far from blasé?