Back in an Insta: Breaking a Blogging hiatus

  It became mundane. The city’s sounds became lullaby, reassuring background music, its sounds a barely noticed backdrop.  Blogging  this became tedious, forced – much like writing about breathing patterns, the blinking of eyes, the beats of a heart for a distracted mind with neither the aptitude nor the appetite for close scientific observation. The…

#JeSuisCharlie

I was going to write a poem about this important moment for Paris and France because it is difficult to capture the many thoughts and sentiments that the Charlie Hebdo incident provokes  (an apparent lack of talent, and a reality check dissuaded me from doing so). However,  in encountering the difficulty of articulating the space…

More images of Occupied Paris

The video captures a very unfamiliar city, under occupation and scenes of liberation. How very far Europe, France, Paris, Germany have come in just 70 years.

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,…

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…

City of love graffiti

So, one of the enduring myths about Paris is that it is a – no, make that the , city of love. I had to take a picture of this piece of graffiti, a declaration of love, a literal writing on the wall. The graffiti basically is from someone too afraid to reveal his/her true…

Paris and Reckoning

It’s a moment of reckoning again. Or not. The current furore surrounding the French  political ‘earthquake’  –  brought about by significant far-right party gains in recently held European elections –  seems to be the cusp of one of many moments of ‘reckoning’ that have shaped French political life and Parisian history. Indeed, the theme of…

The Basilica of Sacré Coeur as dialectic

The Basilica of the Sacré Coeur On Montmartre is a Parisian landmark that has long inspired debate and divided opinion – both on superficial grounds (is it hideous or comely?) to more profound discussions about its meaning. The site of the Basilica draws linkages to pre-Christian religious practice, later Christian martyrs and modern France trying to…

A History of Paris through Plants

Who needs museums to read history? Just take a walk through a forest. Well, this is a dramatic  and silly proposition that  does not  deserve response and that would lead to a slow spiritual death for this blogger if it were affirmative. Yet, there is something to be said for observing the oldest inhabitants of…

Basilique St. Denis, a ‘visual’ to the past

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/95643462″>Basilique Saint Denis, Paris</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user4635806″>George</a&gt; on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p> The Basilica of St. Denis fell outside of Paris of its day but was absolutely central to its political and cultural life. Today it is right on the city’s margins. A visit to St. Denis today may entail snaking through a labyrinthine market, stumbling…