September 16, 2012
In Morphings and Ur-Forms: From Flâneur to Driveur in Scan (2005) Sherman Young argues that in the instance of Sydney, the romantic figure of the flâneur is arguably impossible, and has instead morphed into variously the bohemian or tourist-flâneur.
Gary Sauer-Thompson, Central Market carpark, Adelaide
When people do walk in the city, flanerie has been displaced by the precise itinerary of the three day tourist, the three minute dash from train platform to bus stop, the insistent battle between jaywalker and bicycle courier.
Young, however, goes further than this:
this paper suggests that the most appropriate becoming is the more focussed approach of the driveur, whereby Sydney represents and is represented by a directed flan Erie, located in the driver's seat of the automobile, in which the urban environment is largely aesthetic distraction. Just as the flâneur's natural environment was 19th Century Paris, contemporary Sydney epitomises the driveur's city as a tableau upon which information flows, mostly oblivious to its environment. Nowhere is this shift more apparent than in new media representations, which having glanced towards ideas of flanerie, now appear to exist primarily for the driveur.
The reality for many of the city's inhabitants is the driveur--the dominant actor in the twenty first century metropolis. Their Sydney is experienced as a cacophony of road rage, billboards advertising escape, talkback radio and traffic reports. The Sydney of the driveur is represented by traffic jams, bus lanes and fellow drivers in the wrong toll lane.
Though the aimless wandering of the flâneur with his serendipitous discoveries is not the domain of those who actually work and live there, it can be the domain of photographers exploring the city by walking.