Flâneur’s Phonograph: A flâneur shift in urban exploration

Two of the often discussed perspectives of experiencing a place are the tourists’ lens and the residents’. Noticing the recent rise of atypical tourism, where tourists want to pursue the “live-there” experience, and the rising focus of shifting residents’ attention from mundane day-to-day life, we propose the concept of flâneur as an alternative state. With ‘research through design’ approach, we present our exploration, including (1) gamification for making the sense of place, (2) using situationist-inspired-cards for residents to explore familiar place, and (3) using street photographers’ quotations as inspiration for alternative experience of listening to a city. With these explorative findings, we design Flâneur’s Phonograph, a sound collecting and experiencing device for soundscape, which aims at invoking the flâneur experience during the exploration, and enabling engaging experience different from the perspective of a tourist or a local resident. It invites the users to open up their auditory senses to the places by providing 3 different monitoring modes and 3 types of microphones. We further analyse the qualitative results from investigating a resident and a tourist with our design, make critical reflection, and constructively understand what the flâneur could be in the new technological contexts.