Another gem from the star publishing city, churning marvel specimens of magazine publications one after the other, Berlin. Flaneur is a nomadic, independent magazine focusing on one street per issue - embracing the street’s complexities, its layers and fragmented nature with a literary approach. Its nomadic feature comes from the fact that the team travels to every location (on which the issue is based) and stays there for two months for the purposes of putting together the issue. Each issue is produced by artists of all disciplines with whom the team interacts during its two month sojourn.
The chosen street for this fourth issue of the magazine is Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. Corso Vittorio Emanuele II is a street which though unavoidable for Romans and tourists alike, given that Rome’s attractions Piazza Navona, Campo De’ Fiori and Panthoen are all a stone’s throw away, is likely to go unnoticed. But as you read through the issue, you realise that it is here that Rome’s future was once considered. The current issue of Flaneur attempts this challenge again. “Rome, you world of what is past, or passing or to come. Since we can’t decipher you, we’d like to read your mind”- Fabian Saul (foreword The, Unborn, in Ruins).
Founder / Publisher - Ricarda Messner
Editors in Chief – Fabian Saul, Grashina Gabelmann
Art Direction – Studio YUKIKO
Designers – Michelle Phillips, Johannes Conrad
Copy Editor – Giulia Pines
Website Build – Robert Loeber
As you can imagine, studying the urban landscape of Rome and the challenges it faces and the burdens that weighs down its urbanization or modernization is not an easy task. Flaneur’s Rome issue tackles this most brilliantly by engaging the minds of some of the local educators, academics, architects and art curators of repute to share their views and vision in a faux panel discussion of Rome in post-Berlusconi era, a crucial moment in Italy’s history-The maker’s take on ‘Questione Romana’, a discourse at the end of the 19th century on the relationship of the new Italian State and the papacy.
There is a well of information of historical, cultural as well as architectural relevance in this 30 odd page long discourse; a virtual walk through the history of Rome and bird's-eye view of the social imperatives that dictate so much of what the city is or was. You read on to learn (as explained by Lorenzo Marsili, one of the panelists) how essentially it is that three times in its history when Rome underwent a structural change to serve a clearly laid out purpose – Antiquity, Renaissance and Fascism; however it is in the Modern era that there is a complete lack of vision for a city with such a proud heritage, leading to a state of incoherence and hopelessness that seems to hang heavy in the once proud Roman air, today.
You also learn that the foundation of Rome is determined by the sky, it shapes the sky - the Etruscan cities (now Rome) were structured to project the sky which as per their belief was essentially divided by two vertical lines. The essay by Valerio Mannucci explore what Rome has to offer in its physical presence.
Towards the end of this monolithic introduction on Rome and its various facets, is a series by the editor Fabian Saul where the objects found in Corso Vittorio become tale-tellers.
Flaneur is a fantastic endeavor and the one-street perspective, does not really reveal the enormity of the task the team undertakes at the first glance; it is only when you dive into the issue, do you treasure what they sought out to achieve. A must read for any one passionate about history and travel and of course, about Rome.