Monday, 3 June 2019

Picture Post #47: Joyful Shades, A Riddle



'Because things don’t appear to be the known thing; they aren’t what they seemed to be neither will they become what they might appear to become.' 
Mountain View, Kareedouw, South Africa

Posted by Tessa Den Uyl

For a light to shine, it has to burn something, and within this transitional process, it is able to illuminate shapes. The stronger a directional light shines, the clearer the shadows become, and without the shadows, we wouldn’t see forms but flat surfaces.

Certain shapes we can touch, but when we try to grasp their shadow, this doesn’t work. In this image, where the shadows are almost as clearly outlined as the physical bodies, it comes to mind that no problem is situated within the space of an outline, but merely in the identity of that which establishes it. 

This means that we can put confidence in the cosmic order, in which no person has a right to self-contained certainty, since everything is opened up by something else, and liberated the moment it is touched by light.

8 comments:

Keith said...

First off, the innocence of these young children having uncomplicated fun as they twist and whirl in the warmth of the evening, in a thwarted effort to ‘outsmart’ their shadows, is charming. Beyond that, the word ‘evanescence’ springs to my mind, prompted by the shifting imprint of the children’s shadows. Paradoxically, light both creates and extinguishes shadows. So, Tessa, to your noteworthy point that ‘no person has a right to self-contained certainty’, I wonder if the evanescence of shadows serves as an allegory for that very elusiveness of ‘self-contained certainty’.

Tessa den Uyl said...

Yes Keith, it’s an allegory. Children are more susceptible to shadows, and would like to thank Thomas for this nice picture that captures that vision so well. Shadows are light, and very real. Paying some attention to their flexibility might help to show the elusiveness of a rigidity that human being tends to keep up.

Tessa den Uyl said...

Oh Keith, reading your comment again, the: outsmart their shadows, is actually a good combination of words! We wouldn’t talk about smart shadows though, if we would they probably outsmart us! But shadows are never detached from form, linguistically that could mean there wouldn’t exist the singular, since nothing is ever truly single. I wonder if that would have changed us, the way we perceive, think? ( just a thought)

Martin Cohen said...

I do think it is an interesting, "arresting" image. The shapes are so much like a cut-out sculpture. Of course, the blackness of the children accentutes the effect, but I hope to say that is not somehow offensive. Indeed, the full range of movement frozen in the picture is drawing on some different cultural traditions to, for, example, the UK's hapless Prime Minister, Mrs May, who tried to 'dance' her way on the Conservative Party Conference floor...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbCDFNRA-Wo

You could never get an interesting silhouette of her!

Thomas Scarborough said...

Thank you, Tessa. I wondered whether you are seeking to 'abolish the person' to borrow a phrase of the philosopher James Ladyman. Light and dark cancel each other out, and are therefore mere appearances rather than reality?

Keith said...

I’m drawn, Tessa, to your comment that ‘nothing is ever truly single’. I would agree that, as best I can tell, everything is connected to something. That is, it strikes me that nothing can ever be ‘single’ in the sense that anything has even the possibility of existing in total isolation, entirely disconnected from all else. (Though I admit I haven’t tried to think of exceptions to that untested rule of thumb.) I imagine, therefore, that there are linkages connecting everything to at least something — and probably typically to many somethings.

Tessa den Uyl said...

Intellectually we may understand that things are connected but Thomas touches a point here, about thinking more in terms of appearances than reality, which does make a difference in how we perceive the world, or rather how we behave in an interaction we do not seem to know that much about. (Mrs May does not appear to think like this!)

Observing how light plays with form ( thus shadows) is a great way to learn how to unidentify. The children in the picture might not be occupied with this, but metaphorically it’s there. So we turn to how we can optimise language to learn to see things in a different way. It might be time to start doing so. Eventually light is life for many things, but we are not identified with the sun, we are with family, work etc. This should make one think about seeing the unreality of one’s reality.





Martin Cohen said...

The whole movement seems that of a troupe, a dance - each individual movement reflects those around it...

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