The Paradox Of Digital Media Essay

1496 Words Sep 8th, 2014 6 Pages
(256) The Flaneur as critical observer
The paradox of digital media

- Explain relevance of topic to design practice
- Explain how the topic may be applied to the contemporary practice of design
- How it may provoke new ways of thinking/designing/practicing/and/or contextualising in the future.

The flaneur is a historic figure from the late nineteenth century. His activity was that of flanerie to stroll the streets and observe the bustling life of the modern city. Due to the revolution of digital media today’s flaneurs can be found in web space, a Cyberflaneur of sorts. The paradox of digital media has brought around a new type of critical observer or one where the old idea of a flaneur needs to be changed.

From the late nineteenth century the figure of the flaneur was a partly real partly literary persona documented by Charles Baudelaire and Walter Benjamin. He was largely seen as a male figure at the time in the late nineteenth century originating in Paris. The flaneur has no specific relationship with any individual, yet he establishes a temporary, yet deeply empathetic and intimate relationship with all that he sees. An anonymous face in the multitude, the flaneur is free to probe his surroundings for clues and hints that may go unnoticed by the others. He frequented the arcades, with no intentions to buy; he became part of the space around him.

In postmodernism the arcades frequented by the flaneur were often busy and crowded, a pleasing experience and atmosphere…

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