the flaneur – a viewer who takes pleasure in abandoning himself

The literary critic, Walter Benjamin described the word  “flâneur” as a stroller who aimlessly strolls . They are solitary saunterers, becoming a part of the landscape of their times, a viewer who takes pleasure in abandoning himself to the artificial world of high capitalist civilisation.

…….…….…….…….…….…….…….…….…….…….…….

Langsam durch belebte Strassen zu gehen, ist ein besonderes Vergnügen. Man wird überspielt von der Eile der anderen, es ist ein Bad in der Brandung. Aber meine lieben Berliner Mitbürger machen einem das nicht leicht, wenn man ihnen auch noch so geschickt ausbiegt. Ich bekomme immer misstrauische Blicke ab, wenn ich versuche, zwischen den Geschäftigen zu flanieren. Ich glaube, man halt mich für einen Taschendieb. (1)

Franz Hessel’s Spazieren in Berlin (1929), from which this passage is taken, contains motifs that are central to Benjamin’s idea of the flaneur. These include, on the one hand, delight in immersing oneself in the crowd, the object of observation, and on the other hand, being viewed with suspicion since the keen ‘reading’ of urban physiognomies shows an affinity with the business of criminals and detectives. (Martina Lauster)

The space we (VEA collective) have chosen to observe the Flaneur is not the street which as Walter Benjamin said is exchangeable caused by the influence of the modern consumerism society. Vea has chosen to find the modern stroller in places of relaxation, and relate him to the landscape he observes.

The Flâneur

BY OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES SR.

Boston Common, December 6, 1882 during the Transit of Venus

I love all sights of earth and skies,
From flowers that glow to stars that shine;
The comet and the penny show,
All curious things, above, below,
Hold each in turn my wandering eyes:
I claim the Christian Pagan’s line,
Humani nihil,—even so,—
And is not human life divine?
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  1. […] Is not human life divine? (BY OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES SR. – inspired from Vea Collective’s blog) […]

  2. […] Is not human life divine? (BY OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES SR. – inspired from Vea Collective’s blog) […]



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