Containment

"The central marketplace passes for Haussmann's most successful construction--and this is an interesting symptom. . . . The inhabitants of the city no longer feel at home there.; they start to become conscious of the inhuman character of the metropolis." (AP 23)

"The true goal of Haussmann's projects was to secure the city against civil war. He wanted to make the erection of barricades in the streets of Paris impossible for all time. . . Haussmann seeks to forestall such combat in two ways. Widening the streets will make the erection of barricades impossible, and new streets will connect the barracks in straight lines with workers' districts. Contemporaries christened the operation "strategic embellishment." (AP 23)

"someone had stuck a newspaper article, clipped, I gather, from Le Bien Public:

THE BD HAUSSMANN BUILDING SOCIETY

Several of the small tradesmen who have been victimized for the benefit of huge enterprises such as the Galleries Lafayette are, we learn, on the point of seeking relief from the competent judicial authorities. But there can be no doubt that the City of Paris was fully aware of all the underhand deals and corrupt practices which have studded the history of the Boulevard Haussmann Building Society.

What is quite certain is that, at the very least, the compensation payments should have been allocated equitably. But the majority of the members of the Town Council--and this is a matter of public scandal--are shamefully involved in the misappropriation of public funds, and got themselves elected solely in order to pursue such activities.

Now, it may not be long before we learn some interesting facts. And thanks to the legitimate indignation of these shabbily treated tradesmen, it will be possible to lift the veil concealing the skulduggery of our aediles and of certain big financial sharks" (Paris Peasant 27).

For more on the subject of containment see Benjamin’s writings on the Haussmannization of Paris concerning barricades as well. Also, Louis Aragons Paysan de Paris deals at length with this concept. During the reign of Napoleon III, in an effort to better contain and manage the booming population of Paris, old neighborhoods with winding passages were demolished in order to carve out the broad boulevards. Now, some interesting questions concerning this: was this model based on America’s capital? Wasn’t it the same architect? Also, consider the way that the direct, swift route of the boulevard contrasts the labyrinthine quality of the arcades as laid forth in Aragon’s work. If walking is a metaphor for thought—or even a means of achieving thought—mightn’t the nature of the road affect the nature of the thoughts it provokes? The road one walks leaves as many traces in the mind as its traveler leaves on the road itself. Also, the construction of the boulevards were means of funnellling / barricading the population, funneling them into the commercial districts. “Les Etoiles”, don’t know if anyone has addressed this, that function as nodes, also create very loud and busy areas of town that deafen the modern ear. (IE: Place Republique, Arc de Triomphe—maddening speeds and deafening roars of traffic, swiftly moving round-a-bouts, dangerous crosswalks for pedestrians) See also Cannetti's Crowds and Power and William Gibson's Pattern Recognition. Edith Wharton's House of Mirth also offers up some interesting moments of “crowd control” even down to prescribed dances, seating arrangements, clothing issues, etc. There is a section in the first 60 pages or so that deals with the road Lily walks down in life being “smooth and white” but I can’t find it. Interesting to contrast this kind of proverbial road with the one Joe Christmas wanders down in Light in August, that one road of his life…much more like a boulevard in the Hausmmannian sense than the labyrinthine world that Lily Bart experiences. See also how the Haussmannization of Paris fits in with Deleuze’s notion of striated space. PROBABLY NEED AT LEAST A SHORT CHAPTER ON CROWDS AND CROWD CONTROL AND SMOOTH/STRIATED SPACE. (The question of the smooth versus the striated is one of TERRITORIALIZATION.) Connecting this idea of TERRITORY to the graffiti in a city….The text contains a sense of its authors—and it is audience (the flâneur) is immersed in its “aura” because the text is always already (gotta love that) a temporal and spatial singularity that cannot ever be replicated. (sounds like a bunch of BS to me….)

There is also much to be said about the connection between CONTAINMENT and Interiority/Exteriority. See Benjamin’s chapter “Traces/Interiors”. They key concepts that Benjamin deals with in The Arcades Project—The Flâneur, Prostitution, Gambling, and Drug Use—all are chained to this question concerning thresholds and boundaries, and their delineation, demarcation, delimitation.

The Flâneur, unlike a spider, is contained by his person (i.e.: his stride, strength, sex, appearance, etc…his physical appearance regulates where he can and cannot travel. CLOTHING -- especially (as Benjamin highlights in The Arcades Project) FASHION ž) is key), the rules of the city (i.e.: public places versus private places, the people he knows/can visit, the alleyways, streets, parks, stars, etc. that he must traverse, the time of day, the thickness of the crowd, the traffic, the WEATHER.

The Prostitute exposes herself to the outside world. She is perched in the threshold, a poisoned interior.

The Gambler is contained by the rules of the game and his funds, but also by the rules of the city, which as Benjamin notes, in the 1800's made all gambling illegal.

The Drug User – I think that, for my purposes, instead of dealing with specifically “The Drug User” we can actually deal with the more general notion of INTOXICATION. This is key—ties in, yet again, to Derrida’s “Plato’s Pharmacy” in Dissemination and the idea that language functions like a drug…it gets inside you and changes something, as you process it. Find out more about Benjamin and intoxication.

See the following article:

Spinuzzi, Clay, Jennifer L. Bowie, Ida Rodgers and Xiangyi Li "Open systems and citizenship: Designing a departmental web site as an open system." Computers and Composition Volume 20, Issue 2 (June 2003) 168-193 .

Here the authors explain their project to redesign an English departmental web page in order to "provide a civic forum for [its departmental members] . . . while still meeting the needs of the site's visitors" (

The Arcades Project Project is part of Heather Marcelle Crickenberger's doctoral dissertation entitled "The Structure of Awakening": Walter Benjamin and Progressive Scholarship in New Media which was defended and passed on June 27, 2007 at the University of South Carolina. The committe members are as follows: John Muckelbauer, Ph.D, Judith James, Ph.D., Dan Smith, Ph.D, Brad Collins, Ph. D., and Anthony Jarrells, Ph.D. Copyright 2007 by Heather Marcelle Crickenberger. All rights reserved. lems concerning what you find here, feel free to contact me at marcelle@thelemming.com. You are also invited to leave a message for me and other visitors HERE. The Arcades Project Project or The Rhetoric of Hypertext