Paris v Fox News: On Urban Poetics

In the past fortnight, there has been a concerted effort to defend the image of Paris in the face of Fox News’s assertions that Paris is a dangerous city with ‘no-go zones’  were Sharia Law (read: lawlessness) reigns. Evidently, this is quite an exxageration. Representation and Urban Poetics The importance of language in representing Paris…

#JeSuisCharlie: Reading New Discourses through Parisian graffiti and posters

Paris has rapidly gone through stages of  shock, then silent grief, and today seemed to be a highpoint of defiance and backlash. The graffiti and posters emerging out of this time expose an interesting  discourse beginning to emerge  – or rather, new lines of debate.  A week ago, the economy, youth unemployment were key. The public discourse seems to…

#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…

Into the Parisian Woods

It is January, temperatures are low. However, for the determined jogger, reasonable layering and minimal precautions against the cold  are all you need to jog without doing yourself damage in and around Paris. The region’s climate, at least over the most recent winters, seems not be inhibitive to outdoor movement (relative to weather further North in the…

Changed Relationship Status: A Parisian New Year’s Eve

A fourth New Years’ Eve in Paris was a landmark for this blogger: I realized that the city had grown on me. The marvel of first being in Paris has faded, the honeymoon is over. We’re officially committed to each other now. Rather than an artifact to dissect, and sing praises, the city has become…

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…

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…