Monday 13 December 2021

Picture Post #70: Civilisation!

'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.'

Posted by Tessa den Uyl

Rooftop Madrid. 2021. 

The last two picture posts did regard a certain idea of decay, and as a threesome, this picture might enhance that subtle fascination that surrounds those layered surfaces.

The abstract has often been criticized as either easy art or difficult thinking. Even when we became used to abstract ideas and turned them into what is called: rational thinking. Do we not mostly accept what is convenient in some way or other, no matter how illusory things are, and all the rest we prefer to discard? 

We overlap thoughts with actions and emotions; overlapping is our strength and our misery. Continuous overlapping sketches the picture we live in, and so, rather unawares, we shake a cocktail that we define as ‘our life’. 

What we can apprehend simply by viewing even trash, so complicated by its nature for refuse(d), and often wished unseen, is that everything traces into something else, and transforms. 

Symbolically, when we look at ourselves, we might find a trashy landscape far worse than this rooftop. Although the terror of seeing the veritable junkyard from within also shows the many forgotten things that we touched and related to during our life. And we’re all that, not just a part. 

The picture we prefer to see cannot match the reality we imagine. How real can we truly be?


Keith said...

I regard this image less about a nod to abstraction and more about reality: the reality that everything, with the passage of time manifested by change, turns to disorder. On an everyday level, as depicted by this rooftop, the disguise is decay — or, if one prefers, disregarded, unpretentious trash. Whether one wants to call that process chaos or disassembly, or instead relate the disorder shown here to a grander natural law like entropy, matters less than that everything, from this humble rooftop to the showiest of stars, is inescapably subject to it.

docmartincohen said...

That's true, Keith! Burt isn't your point also a kind of abstraction?

docmartincohen said...

I take Tess's point about the three pictures exploring ideas of decay – but to me this picture was actually more of a composition. Yes, the ingredients are "rubbish" bu the symmetry is compelling, the rust on the railings is appropriate and necessary. In "real life" this is decay, but here, the camera transformed reality.

Tessa den Uyl said...

Dear gentlemen,

Martin offers the notion that the camera transformed reality, and indeed our perception is shaped to what we let in to our vision. Our daily life is full with abstractions for habitually we are narrowing our view to socially function. I think this is important, to recognise that if one wants to distinguish the abstract, this can only occur within the notion that life itself is always a nod to abstraction.

Thomas O. Scarborough said...

Thank you, Tessa. You speak of 'the veritable junkyard within', which seems to be meant as an objective statement about our human nature. Yet is it? On what basis would one portray it like that?

It seems interesting to me that the notion of sin is seeing a resurgence in our society, though not theologically. On the one hand, a sense of our own 'trashy landscape'; on the other hand, the judgements of normative theory.

This post is an important reminder that we are shaped and influenced by our past, surely more than we realise. Sola scientia would seem to assume that we have no past. Richard Feynman wrote, 'History is fundamentally irrelevant.'

Tessa den Uyl said...

Dear Thomas, Let me try to reply to your first question.

I guess to talk about 'the veritable junkyard within' might not be attractive though we tend to deny and hide passages of our human nature. I don't see why we should divide the literal from the figurative as if trash is solely trash, or human being solely human... Aren't junkyards ( real huge ones) not our contemporary botanical gardens?

We oppose ourselves to see things in other ways because of the inconvenience of seeing? Do we really want to grow? If we cannot imagine (metaphorically) a bridge between trash and ourselves, how are we going to move on, with either the physical as well as the mental part, which regards a certain accepted way of being and acting? Every image, every little thing is a mirror, and once you set that image free, the reflection is able to transform from the name given to it?

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