Je Suis Une Flâneuse

Je Suis Une Flâneuse

Rosemary Milne

Crucial to this project is an understanding of the city and time as woven matrices of events which go beyond the linearity and broad streaks of textbook histories. This matrix is unwoven and restitched by the character of the flâneuse (the female flâneur), who peels back the layers to reveal intriguing stories and surprising narratives, demonstrating the value in being immersed in the grain of unofficial histories (or her-stories). 

The flâneuse acts as a detective. She walks to uncover; draws to discover; collects to inhabit; curates to create. Beginning with an archive of historic photographs, she uncovers the almost-forgotten story of a costumier house in Dean Village which burned down in May 1957, resulting in the loss of 100,000 costumes. Further investigation reveals links with a fire at the Empire Palace Theatre (now the Festival Theatre) on the same day in 1911, killing the famed illusionist The Great Lafayette (resulting in the raising of 100,000 hats at his funeral). She collects artefacts associated with these two fires, weaving them into a series of drawings plotting her walks to the various sites. These drawings become the ‘fabric’ for her own costume — a coat which grafts the city onto itself.

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