Along with Wesley Rykalski, I have just embarked on an online project that seeks to examine the role of the seaside promenade in the imagination and practices of late modernity, through a critical encounter with Walter Benjamin‘s ‘The Arcades Project’. In his final project, Benjamin was attempting to critique the ‘bourgeois experience of nineteenth century history’, partly through exploring the covered arcades of Paris, which he saw as emblematic of the attractions and contradictions of capitalist modernity. By bringing together the arcades and the promenades we hope to enrich our understanding of both of these spatial responses to the coming together of capital, leisure and public space.
We will be collaboratively reading and responding to Benjamin’s text on the arcades / promenades blog and have posted up some reading for March to get things started. As time goes on, we will develop a strategy of interspersing reflections on these readings with reflections and documentation on the seaside promenade. More collaborators are welcome, please get in touch via the blog.