Autoethnographic Fiction

Within a class dedicated to research methods, together with Jan Phillip Ley we approached the topic of Viennese nightlife by exploring how the concept of the flâneur translates into the virtual space. We started off by reflecting on our own experiences of disinterest and disengagement from the vivid nightlife of Vienna. We asked ourselves, what could be the alternative? How do we experience the solitary hours after dark? How do we connect to the city without being physically there? Choosing to admit to our own subjectivity, we based our research on phenomenological, autoethnographic methods. Gradually, a narrative started to evolve, of the lonesome online observer, of the virtual flâneur, the voyeur.

We collected our inspirations, provocations, references and quotes on the project blog. We prototyped a helmet equipped with a live-streaming smartphone camera and conducted an experiment in the city. While one was walking the real urban space, the other was guiding his movement by communicating through a chat online and observing the streets from a position of safety and seclusion. One was the other’s eye into the night.