06.Feb.2011 The New Pioneer

File under “Foundations.” After AB’s comment on the Arcades Project, I decided to go back to peruse my copy, with a particular focus on the flaneur convolute, hoping to glean some insight on New Pioneering. I was rewarded by this gem, a quote from a French writer named Pierre Hamp:

The artist seeks eternal truth and knows nothing of the eternity in his midst. He admires the column of the Babylonian temple and scorns the smokestack on the factory. Yet what is the difference in their lines? When the era of coal-powered industry is over, people will admire the vestiges of the last smokestacks, as today we admire the remains of temple columns…Instead of waiting to visit the Bay of Bengal to find objects to exclaim over, the might have a little curiosity about the objects they see in daily life…To walk out your front door as if you’re just arrived from a foreign country; to discover the world in which you already live; to begin the day as if you’ve just gotten off the boat from Singapore and have never seen your own doormat or the people on the landing…-it is this that reveals the humanity before you, unknown until now.

This seems to underscore the core of the New Pioneer’s mission. Now, to what extent is the New Pioneer related to Benjamin and Baudelaire’s flaneur, that remains to be seen. To be sure, there is an element of wandering inherent in both. But it seems to me that the flaneur has an element of aimlessness that the New Pioneer lacks. There seems to be some vague underlying mission in the New Pioneer’s quest.

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