Small Streams


Mother of All Malls
December 5, 2013, 4:39 am
Filed under: Uncategorized
Camden Lock Market

Camden Lock Market

Arcades were the original malls. That’s a heavy and probably unfair burden to bear. But they were created by retailers and developers to control the environment. You are free to do what you want as long as you are buying and not ruining the buying experience for anybody else.

But the arcade was the nursery of the aimless wanderer, the flaneur, the turtle-walker, the place where you were among, or rather you were, the crowd. The grip of commerce wouldn’t always hold. Your only obligation was to understand and comment on the passing scene.

Empathy is the nature of the intoxication to which the flâneur abandons himself in the crowd. He . . . enjoys the incomparable privilege of being himself and someone else as he sees fit. Like a roving soul in search of a body, he enters another person whenever he wishes. — Walter Benjamin

Now we have virtual arcades: Facebook, Twitter, and Tumbler. We can occupy other bodies. We can think and say and retract and sing our bodies electric. Like in the arcade, on the internet, we believe we are free. Our job, of course, as the ads on my WordPress pages reminds me, is to buy.

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 9.32.39 AM

Thank goodness there is this wonderful chance to subvert it all: Subvert our tastes, our politics, our relationships, our bodies . . .

For now, at least.

That’s why I think I’ll go back to making things. When you make things you are obligated. You are obligated to do the best job you can, and you are obligated to live with the results.

By the way, isn’t the ceiling at the Camden Lock Markets fantastic?

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