Wednesday, August 27

Tuesday, May 20

light on display

Quite funny thing, taking pictures... Although technically instant, sometimes the images fully develop long after you've taken them: they appear in a totally new light. At least this looks to be my (in)experience for now.

Roamed through the 'museums' night'. And back home the pictures I've taken started to talk to me about light in a spectrum that goes from the visible through the vicarious and ends in the unfathomable.

Friday, May 16

Which way to Wonderland

“As this is May”, I’m reading about Alice’s adventures in Wonderland. Stumbled over them a week ago, as I took shelter from the rain in a bookstore. The thought of re-reading the tale has been sporadically flickering in my mind for some years now – at first I was amused by the idea, then I gradually became aware of some fuzzy feeling of ‘unfinished business’ accompanying it.

I believe this has been the first book I’ve ever read – or at least the first one I can remember of. It was summer, I was 7 or 8, and borrowed it from the library of the school where my grandfather taught. I see myself reading in the school’s courtyard, sitting on the ground by the apple tree from which my swing hung.

The book may have been some sort of short version, since when I took it back to the library, the lady there praised me for reading it so quickly (I’m sure I haven’t skipped anything in there). And gave me a second one – probably “Through the Looking Glass” (I don’t actually remember which was the first and which, the second).

[What path do children take, flanked by stupid praises and interdictions?... Where does it lead? “No, you’ll fall!” – to a child jumping over some small yellow cylinder on the sidewalk, “No, you’ll get wet!” – to a smiling curious girl who wanted to test with one foot the water in the mockup river from the previous post, etc. And I can’t describe you the change on the kids’ faces as they turned ‘good’ and took the grownups’ hands... Undoubtedly, these kids would also be praised for getting good marks in school. The better the marks, the 'better' the kid: children become proficient in the dead geography of a mockup world built by previous generations.]

Only this time, reading even faster became my goal. After galloping along the sentences, I run back with the book. But the expected sugar cube turned into a sour blow: the librarian didn’t believe I had read the whole book. Even today I have the ‘phenomenological’ memory of the feeling I then had.

So I assumed ‘properly’ reading about Alice, after all these years, would somehow tie up the annoyingly indefinite loose ends. Started reading the book… smiled a few times, ‘recognized’ things in there, intellectually tasted the symbolism, but… no ‘revelation’!...

Today (it all goes veeeery slowly, ha ha) I diligently took the book again in my hands. The same... But then a funny (and sort of liberating) idea suddenly lit up my mind: what if the heavy mismatch feeling I had in the library had less to do with what happened then, and was more of a signpost of the path I was about to take?...

Sunday, May 4

speaking about layers...

May 1st: the sunny day brings the prospect of a couple of idle hours in the park with a friend and her baby (my soon-to-be-goddaughter!). Strolling with the baby cart in the silence of the empty streets that lead to the park already has a soothing, almost miraculous feeling to it: on an ordinary day, in a chaotic city where impertinent hoards of cars flock on the streets and sidewalks as well, this would be a tense, downright dangerous pursuit.

Along the way, from time to time, small idiosyncrasies gently break away with the scenery and fuse with our unfocused, welcoming attention in order to take shape: ivy flows and patterns, a recently painted detail on a façade, flower pots scattered in a tree’s crown.

The park is bustling with leisurely goings-on: kids riding tin horses fitted on coils, unfolding epics on the banks of a mockup river, or encircling with joyful shouts the spring fountain. Quiet protective trees, bunches of grownups mounted on benches, and mating pigeons complete the picture.

After a sunny while on the lazy bench, I’ve reluctantly stretched my hand out for the camera. And started to – yeah – press the shutter button here and there. No peaks of photo-excitement, just an even distribution of the same quiet, self-contained delight that the trip has been floating on from its beginning (to the very end).

The outcome: poorly focused, ‘what’s really here?’, malexposed pictures – which resulted in an immediate urge to invoke deflective, rescuing ideas like ‘bad photo day’ or ‘point-and-shoot camera’. Following the new – lighter – spin on things, I even began to theorize on the virtues of frustration: transmutation power, doorway to new directions, fuel for ‘corrective’ action, etc.

Started to pick out some more acceptable photos, while thinking on how I would learn more, buy a new camera, practice more, etc. ‘Hmm, I like this girl playing there’, and I quickly arranged one of the images that was overexposed and included it, too.

Slowly, while absorbed by the petty demands of putting together the slideshow, the ‘frustration’ theme dissipated: and something totally exciting managed to surface – something I didn’t see when I took the pictures!

Look at the three pictures with the girl playing with her toys: first there’s a horse – on one side of the ‘river’ (there’s water running in there). Next, a doll – on the other side. And then… they acknowledge each other’s presence. I felt sorry I didn’t take any more pictures of the playing girl: I believe though the doll has eventually saddled the horse and flew: even to the moon and sun and back! Because the girl – sitting on a bridge – is somehow playing one of the most powerful myths that has scattered on Earth a myriad of versions over thousands of years: that of the separation and union.

What’s with the horse? Shouldn’t there be a – say – prince instead?... That could also be, but think of what a hero can do when united with his horse: St. George slays the dragon (symbol of man’s inferior nature); in many tales, the horse fed with fire can fly and take the man to heights unattainable otherwise. The horse is an embodiment of Shakti, “the power aspect of divinity that lies numb in the fallen man, as mere potency” (Vasile Lovinescu in a study on popular tales).

Enough with the ‘explanations’. There’s an inherent ambiguity to every myth; it’s not possible otherwise, since “the myth is the penultimate Truth” (Ananada Coomaraswamy).

I was really excited to see how below the immediate ‘reality’ of three pictures taken in the hope for one of them turning ‘right’, something else developed: an enactment of “Magnum Opus” – the Great Work of man – on a 1st of May (1 being also 'One', union)!...

Of course, you might say I’m reading too much into the girl’s play. But “wer den Dichter will verstehen muss ins Dichten Lande gehen.” (Goethe).