Flâneuse

I would be teaching a 3-Day Photography workshop in Lagos Nigeria.

Synopsis: The French term “flâneuse” describes a certain type of city wanderer-explorer who, in the sense of Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), is “at the center of the world and at the same time hidden from the world.

Cities are symbolically gendered and some spaces are marked by the physical exclusion of particular sexes. The limitation of women’s mobility, in terms of both spaces and identity, has been in some cultural contexts a crucial means of subordination. Lagos, Nigeria for instance; with over 20 million inhabitants, is considered threatening as women must go through different mental negotiations and complexities to navigate the daily living in this mega city.

How then does the experience of spatial anxiety affects and influences women’s creativity and image production in the city?

The “gaze”, as many critics and theorists have argued convincingly, is a key element in the construction of modern subjectivity, filtering ways of understanding and ordering the surrounding world. The search of the female gaze is the search to redefine femininity. To investigate the way women look is, in fact, to examine how consciousness is shaped. It is a rudimentary truth that within societies, men and women navigate through in differing manners, shaping or perhaps distorting the way one views this world. As described by Claire Raymond in Women Photographers and Feminist Aesthetics (2017), gender can be interpreted “as a product not merely of speech, but of watching, looking, seeing, and being seen.”

Indeed, images have multiple meanings, but they are always subjected to ideology. To explore the politics of gazes, one must recognise the dynamics of power it involves and, moreover, to acknowledge it is built within a ‘shared sets of values and beliefs’ that ‘intersect at all levels of all cultures’ (Sturken & Cartwright, 2018, p. 38).

In this workshop, we would explore the female gaze: what it is; how is it constructed, and what is its function in patriarchy. We would examine the way women look to then understand how they photograph while also focusing on the relationship between the artist/photographer and the city space.

 

Flâneusedeolagold
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