This blog began as ORBIS, as a repository of musings by a graduate student, a Filipino just relocated to the United States. The name was derived from a short story by Jorge Luis Borges 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 itself, a labyrinthine world interconnected by hyperlinks.
The site was first revamped as The Flâneur’s Arcade to move away from the hermeticism inspired by Borges, to the more meandering, open-ended stance of the Baudelairean urban flâneur. The format was streamlined to encourage more writing and reading.
A couple of years later, I was posting more photography than text, starting with an iPhone snapshot taken from a hotel window in Tucson, Arizona that I thought exemplified good flâneur photography. This was how the site eventually became more of a photoblog. Here I elaborate on this emerging project, 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 tumult, 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.
It was my intent to maintain this site as a photoblog using Google’s photo hosting service, after Photobucket cut the hotlinks from my regular blog articles, but it seems like that will not be possible as well. Google has since disallowed embedding of direct links from Google Photos. In this light, I am turning this site into an archive of a decade’s worth of blogging since 2007, when I began–nearly 200 entries of sometimes pretentious, sometimes pompous, but always opinionated writing.
I will be restoring the image links (slowly) by transitioning to WordPress’ in-house photo service, so that the site will finally be completely self-contained. I am moving (with trepidation) my photoblogging and microblogging to Tumblr, and new writing (or re-writing) to a different WordPress site:
- The Flâneur’s Arcade: “The flaneur finds the world picturesque.“
- Fin de siècle Blues: “Notes on Civilization and Decadence“
- The Pointed Nib: “Brevity is the Soul of Wit.“
Over time, I have settled into these three genres of photoblogging, microblogging, and proper writing, but doing all three in a single site has just become unwieldy, and also produced uneven results. So part of this major change also comes from my need to restructure.
I have enjoyed this “arcades project” for the last ten years, following my intellectual interests wherever it led me, striving to be a flâneur, both as amateur and dilettante: an amateur in the original French sense of “lover,” and a dilettante in the positive Italian sense of “one who delights.”
And the delights continue to beckon.
The Flâneur’s Arcade is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
4.0 International License.