Month: June 2014

Paris, this time, 70 years ago…

The past weekend was all about the decisive allied intervention in Normandy that turned  the tide of the Second World War. For Paris, liberation was not too far in the future. But, one would imagine that the atmosphere would have been tense and uncertain in occupied Paris. Late Night News On the 10th of June, the British tract, Le Courrier de l’air  would be printed and then delivered over the course of the following days, overhead and at night, to occupied areas of France, informing them about the success on the beaches of Normandy. Occupied Life The  experience of the city remained that of an occupied territory. The sights, sounds, and the broader sensory experience of  Paris were oppressive, one might imagine. Here are a few images of the time that I found striking, while combing through archives of the time: Age and a Sense of Occupation Fabulous and Fierce Under Fire The Fearful Sound of Thudding Boots Stripping the city Forced Taste   Still to come…

Left, Right, Left: A Historical, Parisian Tale of University Graffiti

I came across graffiti while working at two very different Parisian universities.  They gave me  pause to think about how graffiti, as a sensory tool, is a powerful mechanism that engages – or maybe even ‘politicizes’ our sense of sight. Graffiti can challenge the beholder on several levels – as a critique and legitimator of the existing social order, as a historical tool and a gauge of the present –  all through  the sense of sight. Graffiti proves just how much our senses are  subjective and conditioned  – our judgement of graffiti as ‘ugly’, ‘beautiful’,’offensive’ etc.. – are all ideas that we receive or that we decide to hold as true. Left, Right: Graffiti at University A This university has become a home of conservative student politics but was at the forefront of radical left activism in May 1968.  Thanks to online archives, one can explore how graffiti has changed/remained the same since. Then: It was all about justice, solidarity with the weak, an inclusive social and economic order.  Graffiti offended the eye as a means of …