It is like that time when you’ve walked through the city, pondering, or else just passing by, and something, in a moment, in a flash, catches your attention. You are captivated by an urban image, its juxtaposition seemingly saying something deeper; it resonates with you and can no longer go unnoticed, painted in the background.
This walk invites the city dweller to cast a curious gaze upon the urban panoramas that surround them. Giving life to Walter Benjamin’s theory within Ottawa’s urban core, we will explore how Benjamin’s thought enables us to inhabit the city in a more profound and acute way. The tour leader will share his understanding of Walter Benjamin’s thought as something that can be embodied in daily interaction with the urban environment. In this local context, the reading of our thinker’s concept of dialectical images (a fragmental image where past and present momentarily intersect and illuminate one another in constellation with the now, revealing historical tensions) will help us unravel cultural meanings and historical traces, as they are found in the spontaneous and the compelling urban panoramas of Ottawa.
Meet at the Central Chambers building, 40 Elgin St, (corner of Queen). From there, we will walk west on Queen, then over to Sparks and Kent Sts. (Bank of Canada Building). We will move a few steps north on Kent (St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church), before moving on to conclude our walk at the corner of Laurier Ave. and Bay St.
Nicholas has completed a Master’s in Sociology on Walter Benjamin, examining his critical perspective on art in Western Society. He has since presented at national conferences on the subject of benjaminian theory and his legacy in the current contemporary context. Nicholas has also published a peer-reviewed article on this subject. These theoretical and poetic ways of understanding shape his readings of the urban panoramas of Ottawa, in times of cultural drifting through the chaos of symbols and hyper-real images.