This blog began as ORBIS in April 2007 as a repository of musings by a graduate student in Chemistry. The name was derived from a short story by Jorge Luis Borges called Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius about a fictitious planet built by anonymous men. It resembled, not so much a real planet, but a self-consistent body of knowledge that constitutes a fictive world. It resembled, in fact, cyberspace, a labyrinthine world interconnected by hyperlinks.
In 2013, the site was revamped as The Flâneur’s Arcade in order to move away from the hermeticism inspired by Borges, to the more meandering, open-ended stance of the urban flâneur. The format was simplified (with the cleaner Manifest stylesheet) to encourage writing and reading.
A couple of years later, I was posting more and more photography than text, starting with Car Trouble, a photo of a Muslim woman in hijab, waiting by the roadside as her two male companions cross the busy highway for help. This was taken from a hotel window in Tucson, AZ, and I thought exemplified good flâneur photography. This was how the site eventually became more of a photoblog. The page on flânarie explains its photographic ethic and aesthetic.
The site is once again revamped, fortuitously, on the day of a solar eclipse. Eclipses, after all, are occasions of pandemonia and hullabaloos. To keep things even and consistent, I removed (or kept private) all the more text-based posts, and further on retain this site exclusively for photoblogging. What has been omitted, however, will hopefully resurface in a somewhat different form on a new site called The Pointed Nib, which indeed will be for such musings.
Hence, The Flâneur’s Arcade will truly be an arcade, that is, a gallery of visual bric-à-brac from one who saunters in the world.