In a time when the world seems to be spinning faster on its axis and the majority of people are rushing from A to B in the hustle and bustle of modern life, the art of strolling, dawdling and sauntering offers a welcome counterpole.The flâneur has something that many people covet: control over their own time. They take the time and use it to soak up their surroundings. This is also how they get to where they’re going. Mostly long before those who allow themselves to be rushed.
It was Walter Benjamin who significantly shaped the idea of the flâneur. In his collection of notes entitled Passagen-Werk (Arcades Project), Benjamin developed the concept of “flanerie” as a special form of urban perception and elevated the flâneur beyond idle dallier status, giving weight to the idea of the dandified thinker and flamboyant character.
And so it’s very apt that, according to Benjamin, it was apparently good form for flâneurs in the mid-19th century to stroll around with a tortoise on a lead – whether to set the pace for a particularly leisurely walk, or to clearly demonstrate that one wasn’t in the slightest rush.