Mapping the Flâneur

 “The whole visible universe is but a storehouse of images and signs.”

Charles Baudelaire (from ‘The Arcades Project’, Walter Benjamin, [J7,3])

Mapping the Flâneur at FORMAT International Photography Festival 2011 was a dynamic photographic installation designed as an image-based response to the fragmentary, indexical nature of Walter Benjamin’s ‘The Arcades Project’. As a constantly evolving exhibition of crowd-sourced new work, produced by talented contemporary photographers involved in a selection of the world’s most exciting collectives, it created a vibrant global photographic dialogue providing an overview of the growing photography collective movement, of contemporary photographic practices, and the complexity of urban life worldwide.

Inspired by the development of cloud printing, the installation remotely produced prints for exhibition daily, and the images were also tracked online at the project’s site The installation was a real-world print model of online image sharing: the experimental nature of the project was a response to critical debate about the future of print in the internet age, using the web and print to produce a crossover between the tangible and virtual worlds. Street photography is currently enjoying a popular renaissance and, with the active involvement of international contemporary photographers, the project was also intended to broadly explore the boundaries of this genre.

Mapping the Flâneur was collaboratively conceived by UK-based photography collectives ASA and Wideyed, produced with the support of Arts Council England and Photo Festivals, and made possible by the generous contributions of the following collectives:

ASA Collective / UK

Belgrade Raw / Serbia

Black Box / Nigeria

Black Dog Collective / Denmark

BlankPaper – La Escuela / Spain

Blind Collectif / France

Boreal Collective / Canada

Collectif Item / France

Depiefoto / Spain

Dreamboats Collective / US

Dvafoto / Serbia + US

Galeria Experiência / Brazil

Garapa / Belgium + Brazil

MJR / International

NAPO Images / Poland

Role / Brazil

TerraProject / Italy

Verso Images / Russia

Wideyed / UK

Zorye Kolektiv / Slovenia

With special thanks to Arturo Rodriguez Castillo for coordinating contributions from La Escuela BlankPaper in Spain, and to Nathalie Belayche at ON THE ROOF for help with contacting Nigerian collective Black Box.