The Art of Walking in Space and Time: The Quest for London
As Peter Ackroyd, Iain Sinclair, and Gilbert & George explore London, they renegotiate Baudelaire's notion of the flânerie. All four, London: The Biography by Ackroyd, Lights Out for the Territory and London Orbital by Sinclair, and the 20 E1 London Pictures by Gilbert & George embody various forms of urban exploration, where wandering entails wondering. Acknowledging that “London is illimitable,” the authors privilege walking to relate individually to “the Golem.” However, the polymorphism of the city destabilises the wanderer, while London seems out of reach. I shall consider first how and where the authors walk and what it entails. Then, I show how wandering questions empiricism, and, finally, how the anomy of the walks prompts an alternative mapping of London.