The visible about us seems to rest in itself. It is as though our vision were formed in the heart of the visible, or as though there were between it and us an intimacy as close as between the sea and the strand.
And yet it is not possible that we blend into it nor that it passes into us, for then the vision would vanish at the moment of formation, by disappearance of the seer or of the visible….. Between the alleged colors and visibles, we would find anew the tissue that lines them, sustains them, nourishes them and which for its part is not a thing, but a possibility, a latency and a flesh of things.
As I have been developing my work for art school I have been trying to discover what it is I am trying to say in my multiple exposure photos that I am presenting to the faculty. What do I want the viewer to experience, what do I want to experience, and generally what the hell am I trying to say? Strangely enough this can be a very difficult thing to answer. As I mentioned yesterday there are many artists out there who feel like they create the work and don’t need to explain it, however you can’t get through art school on that kind of attitude nor make a successful career out of it (in most cases).
To help me develop a form to look at my work through my professor and newest mentor had me read a very lengthy essay by Maurice Merleau-Ponty entitled The Intertwining – The Chiasm. Let me forewarn you that this is going to be a very long and wordy post because 1) it took me 2 weeks to read this whole article and it deserves the respect of a good breaking down of and 2) I never took phenomenology seriously because it just sounds kind of ridiculous but this essay made some very good points that I would very much like to share. With that said if you would like to get out before this gets serious this is your chance.
Now back to this quote above. This seems very relatable to how I feel about not only clothing but the world around me. I may see a fern but feel a variety of things outside of just a fern or nature when I see it. I may see a shirt in neon yellow but think many things outside of just material and color when I see it. The things around us are more than just the reflected vision of themselves but an object filled with a web of information. The things that we put on our backs and the things that we see every day are more than they appear, there is more occurring within them then just the visual layer.
What is indefinable in the quale, in the color, is nothing else than a brief, peremptory manner of giving in one sole something, in one sole tone of being, visions past, visions to come, by whole clusters….. The thickness of the body, far from rivaling that of the world, is on the contrary the sole means I have to go unto the heart of the things, by making myself a world and by making them flesh.
Again discussing how the visible things hold more than just the visible meaning. “The thickness of the body, far from rivaling that of the world, is on the contrary the sole means I have to go unto the heart of the things, by making myself a world and by making them flesh.” What we take from these tangible things may be intangible to us yet they seem tangible and thick and fleshy. They seem more real than sometimes the real thing and in turn the real thing becomes almost unreal, just a strange object containing all of these other things that are more significant than the object itself.
I’ve noticed that I often take my photos outside in nature. Even though I live in Miami and on a university campus and am surrounded by more architecture and pavement than clusters of trees I continuously choose to go to these few spots of nature and take my photos. When I go there I fell more at ease and free to take whatever time or space I need. I feel more comfortable to express what I want to say about the moment and what ends up ideally being depicted is my comfort or sense of place in the environment and in me. When I am taking the time to document my clothes I want to express the joy or comfort I had in my room when creating that outfit and if the location I’m at doesn’t allow for me to feel that I can’t take my photos there.
What we call a visible is…. a quality pregnant with a texture, the surface of a depth , a cross section upon a massive being , a grain or corpuscle borne by a wave of Being….one can say that we perceive the things themselves, that we are the world that thinks itself-or that the world is at the heart of our flesh. In any case, once a body-world relationship is recognized, there is a ramification of my body and a ramification of the world and a correspondence between its inside and my outside, between my inside and Its outside.
Even though I want to live in large cities my whole life I have always wanted them to incorporate nature such as Central Park in NYC. I think there is something unbelievably captivating about walking through the woods by yourself on a sunny afternoon. In nature I feel like I can personally connect with it on a deeper and intimate level. When I'm there I can get lost and let go of all inhibitions or anxieties I might have if in an area where people can see me and observe me. In nature I can escape.
When I get dressed in the morning I don’t think about the people I will see walking in-between classes. I choose my pieces based on how I feel that morning or what I was thinking of the night before. Sometimes I walk out with something nonchalant and other times I am much more extravagant. Clothing for me is an escape as well in the sense that it gives me the power each and every day to transform myself into anything I want to be when really at the end of the day I’m just another student going to her university classes.
Through nature and clothing I am able to explore this depth of knowledge in the visible things. What is being said, how I am reacting to it and why and how that is effecting my future decisions. Our environment is a major factor in the outcome of how we dress ourselves. This includes our peers, jobs, hobbies, and literal environment. I've realized through my art school work that I want for my photos to discuss all of these things. I want them to become an introspective view on what makes up style. Since I am the easiest person to analyze and of course I know myself the best I have only used myself as the subject outside of the street style shots I capture.
Thus since the seer is caught up in what he sees, it is still himself he sees: there is a fundamental narcissism of all vision. And thus, for the same reason, the vision he exercises, he also undergoes from the things, such that, as many painters have said, I feel myself looked at by the things, my activity is equally passivity-which is the second and more profound sense of the narcissim: not to see in the outside, as the others see it, the contour of a body one inhabits, but especially to be seen by the outside, to exist within it, to emigrate into it, to be seduced, captivated, alienated by the phantom, so that the seer and the visible reciprocate one another and we no longer know which sees and which is seen….and henceforth movement, touch, vision, applying themselves to the other and to themselves, return toward their source and, in the patient and silent labor of desire, begin the paradox of expression.
This statement was very interesting and has had me pondering it for quite a while now. I once heard that when people cry in movies, no matter how random the situation could be, it is because they are relating to it somehow personally. I think this statement explains how the same goes for our lives in general. When I see a skyline of New York City I don’t just see the city but I see my future and the place I want to get breakfast each morning. When I see a picturesque scene of a meadow I see my childhood and some of the happiest most peaceful times of my life. When I see layers of crinoline in soft pastels I see the magical elegance from my experiences as a ballet dancer. It is impossible for us as humans to separate our vision from our experiences and in turn a cause and effect relationship occurs.
“…movement, touch, vision, applying themselves to the other and to themselves, return toward their source and, in the patient and silent labor of desire, begin the paradox of expression.”
Through these 6 months of working on how to explain my photos and what I am trying to say I have realized that what I really want to do is sit down and discover what style is. What makes it up, where does it come from, can it be learned? How can people oblivious to the fashion world have such a strong sense of style while people that work in the industry can have no hint of it? It is these experiences that we have as individuals with the world around us that ultimately compile into this thing called style. It is the way we move, how we interact with people, the places we’ve been or want to go, the things that make us feel too deeply for words, our insecurities and our strengths. All of these things are factors that contribute to style, to who we are as individuals, to how we react with our daily world and create that ultimate expression of us.
If you just read this whole thing I applaud you for taking the time out of your day for my ramblings and you certainly deserve that Wendy's frosty today. For your reward from me I give you a little bit more knowledge on phenomenology and its non-technical definition that I probably should have given you at the beginning.
None the less:
None the less:
An approach that concentrates on the study of consciousness and the objects of direct experience.
Now go out and spend your day taking in the web of information within your world.
Now go out and spend your day taking in the web of information within your world.