Paul Auster’s New York

The feeling that emerges from these glimpses of city life is roughly equivalent to what one feels when looking at a photograph. Cartier-Bresson’s “decisive moment” is perhaps the crucial idea to remember in this context. The important thing is readiness:  you cannot walk out into the street with the expectation of writing a poem or taking a picture, and yet you must be prepared to do so whenever the opportunity presents itself. Because the “work” can come into being only when it has been given to you by the world, you must be constantly looking at the world.

From: The Art of Hunger, as quoted in Paul Auster’s New York, Henry Hold and Company, New York)

Airport — Liminal Narratives

In an endlessly fascinating essay – Non-places: an introduction to super modernity – Marc Augé contrasts anthropological place (any space bearing the inscriptions of the social bond or collective history, such as churches, market places and town halls) with non-places. Described as spaces of circulation, consumption and communication, they are the places we inhabit when […]

via Airport — Liminal Narratives

The Domestication of the Garage – J.B Jackson

Wherever we go, whatever the nature of our work, we adorn the face of the earth with a living design which changes and is eventually replaced by that of a future generation. How can one tire of looking at this variety, or of marveling at the forces within man and nature that brought it about?

The city is an essential part of this shifting and growing design, but only a part of it. Beyond the last street light, out where the familiar asphalt ends, a whole country waits to be discovered: villages, farmsteads and highways, half-hidden valleys of irrigated gardens, and wide landscapes reaching to the horizon. A rich and beautiful book is always open before us. We have but to learn to read it. *

* J.B. Jackson, “The Need of Being Versed in Country Things,” Landscape, vol. 1, no. 1 (Spring 1951) as quoted in Paul Groth and Chris Wilson, “The Polyphony of Cultural Landscape Study: An Introduction,” in Everyday America, 9. The essay borrows its title from a 1920 poem by Robert Frost. 

J.B. Jackson’s 1976 essay on the evolution of the American garage displays his rare ability to combine deep erudition with eloquent and plainspoken analysis.

Read on Places Journal

Citation: “The Domestication of the Garage,”: Introduction by Jeffrey Kastner. Archival text by J.B. Jackson, “The Domestication of the Garage,” Places Journal, February 2019. Accessed 07 Feb 2019.    https://placesjournal.org/article/j-b-jackson-the-domestication-of-the-garage/

Le flaneur — Ming Thein | Photographer

From Wikipedia: “Flâneur (pronounced [flɑnœʁ]), from the French noun flâneur, means “stroller”, “lounger”, “saunterer”, or “loafer”. Flânerie is the act of strolling, with all of its accompanying associations. A near-synonym is boulevardier.” A holdover from the class divides of 19th and early 20th century in Europe when the gentry could spend their time engaged in […]

via Le flaneur — Ming Thein | Photographer

Bus Stop — Liminal Narratives

We rarely see them. Or rather, we see but fail to acknowledge. They inhabit a shadowland of the banal, the unremarkable, the unnoticed. Concealed in their own mundanity, they gently erase themselves from view. Yet in Christopher Herwig’s remarkable Soviet Bus Stops, these drab artefacts of lane and street are re-invented, as Jonathan Meades observes […]

via Bus Stop — Liminal Narratives

flâneur — Liminal Narratives

In airport, we looked at how Augé’s non-places are maybe not so ‘non’. They are places not merely of circulation, communication and consumption but creativity too. This suggests perhaps a further liminal characteristic of non-places – their identity is not merely singular but multiple; and these identities blur. It is a view proposed by Peter Merriman in […]

via flâneur — Liminal Narratives

Lost City: On Remembrance of Things Past — Solitary City

A favorite pastime of the French, particularly of the Parisian stock, is to lament the loss of their nation, language, or culture. This happens at neighborhood markets, on Mediterranean beaches, and frequently, on panels on evening news programs, where a graying member of the Académie Française (I am thinking here of the author and cultural […]

via Lost City: On Remembrance of Things Past — Solitary City

On Signage

Sometimes kitsch. Sometimes haunting. Sometimes enchanting. Sometimes banal. Often evocative of places and spaces familiar to us in our everyday encounters with the urban world. A neon sign in a favorite cafe, a vintage enameled sign sporting the logo of a long defunct motor oil company, an art deco sign with its delicately stylish elements, a hand painted apothecary’s sign from the middle ages or an intricate wrought iron sign with exquisite handmade lattice work: signage comes in a myriad number of designs, shapes and forms.

– Marcus D. Niski

 

The Painter of Modern Life …

But now it is evening. It is that strange, equivocal hour when the curtains of heaven are drawn and cities light up. The gas-light makes a stain upon the crimson of the sunset. Honest men and rogues, sane men and mad, are all saying to themselves, ‘The end of another day!’ The thoughts of all, whether good men or knaves, turn to pleasure, and each one hastens to the place of his choice to drink the cup of oblivion. Monsieur G. will be the last to linger wherever there can be a glow of light, an echo I of poetry, a quiver of life or a chord of music; wherever a passion can pose before him, wherever natural man and conventional man display themselves in a strange beauty, wherever the sun lights up the swift joys of the depraved animal! ‘A fine way to fill one’s day, to be sure’ …

– Charles Baudelaire, The Artist, Man of the World, Man of the Crowd, and Child in The Painter of Modern Life and Other Essays (1863) , Translated and Edited by Jonathan Myne, Phaidon, 1964, P 11