There are a number of websites and blogs out there that we have come across on the last few months, that are also using Walter Benjamin’s ‘Arcades Project’ as a starting point for new work. In this post we’ve rounded up a few that we like, we recommend that you visit them all and if you know of any more, please let us know in the comments on this blog.
This website takes the Arcades Project as its starting point and furnishes Benjamin’s text with hyperlinks and a web-structure that seeks to move on from the idea of the passagen to something more like a labyrinth. The site consists of new convolute, multimedia texts, internal and external links and essay style pieces on the project and its conceptual framework. Like Borges’ map, describing the project would require us to re-create it – the best way to get a ‘feel for the game’ of this website is to engage with it and plot your own journey through it.
From the website: “The Arcades Project : A 3D Documentary, is a series of projects initiated by artist Jennie Savage which took place in Cardiff’s Victorian and Edwardian Arcades between October 2008 and October 2009. Cardiff is known as the city of Arcades because it has the highest concentration of Victorian and Edwardian Shopping arcades in the UK. Between 2008-2009 artist Jennie Savage led an exploration into these spaces, inspired by Walter Benjamin’s Arcades project and constructed in the light of the St David’s 2 Shopping Centre.”
The city of Leeds has a number of covered arcades. This blog appears to have taken its inspiration from this observation: “A great deal has been written about the Paris Arcades and yet one finds them in a much worse state than those in Leeds. Both the condition of repair and the frequency of trade pale besides those in Leeds”. Over time this blog has morphed into something that promises “All the Walter Benjamins you can possibly imagine.”
We’re really enjoying finding out more about this project as it evolves online, which is an “open-source, distributed PhD” taking its “inspiration from Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project, that Paul Caplan of the Internationale is developing at Birkbeck, University of London”. This project seems to be attempting the construction of dialectical images of the developments surrounding the 2012 Olympics, making use of mobile technology and image sharing, that will eventually even involve a specially designed iPhone app.