There once was a man who said “Damn!
It is borne in upon me I am
an engine that moves
in predestinate grooves;
I’m not even a bus, I’m a tram.”
Needing to have reality confirmed and experience enhanced by photographs is an aesthetic consumerism to which everyone is now addicted. Industrial societies turn their citizens into image-junkies; it is the most irresistible form of mental pollution. Poignant longings for beauty, for an end to probing below the surface, for a redemption and celebration of the body of the world—all these elements of erotic feeling are affirmed in the pleasure we take in photographs. But other, less liberating feelings are expressed as well. It would not be wrong to speak of people having a compulsion to photograph: to turn experience itself into a way of seeing. Ultimately, having an experience becomes identical with taking a photograph of it, and participating in a public event comes more and more to be equivalent to looking at it in photographed form.
This is a good read! Susan Sontag, On Photography, 1977. While she’s writing this, the Yashica Electro 35 GSN is $100 dollars on the shelf. At its best it reminds me of The Origin of the Work of Art by Heidegger. She has a Balzac quote, too, fearing for his physical essence:
Every body in its natural state was made up of a series of ghostly images superimposed in layers to infinity, wrapped in infinitesimal films…. Man never having been able to create, that is to make something material from an apparition, from something impalpable, or to make from nothing, an object—each Daguerreian operation was therefore going to lay hold of, detach, and use up one of the layers of the body on which it focused.
- On Photography by Susan Sontag (full-text pdf)
- The Origin of the Work of Art by Martin Heidegger (I have no idea how to find this text, online or otherwise. The only text I’ve personally seen was the one I used to make my own copy in university)
via TRU PUNX
“A line is a proposition for a state of general bisection. A nice line implies a switch that hereafter implies something else: two things. Thus, lines are the preliminary means by which things are, though they themselves are not the things. Lines are to the Shapist, in other words, what atoms are to Aristotle. This comparison will undo itself momentarily as we learn.
A bent line is a corner. A flexed line is a curve, which is an intelligent line. Experiment No. 1 demonstrates a need for reconsideration of the realm we claim to occupy with effortlessness. A curve or a bend occurs under the conditions of true effortlessness, before the quazivoidal depths where only the vaguest of impressions dwell. A curved line implies emergent, non-gravitational force; not a redistribution of area, but its very awakening. A curve in motion is a wave. Waves are sound, light, gravity and everything else.
What happens when two curves touch? They form a soft vee-shapon. Shapons are preliminary configurations taking shape with each other, rather than on their own. What happens when two lines touch? They form an angle, a very familiar Shapon. When lines and curves take shape with each other they have reached the actionable limit of their nature. Shapons may have some specific relevancy for our future Shapists to discover. As to what that might look like or feel like, I will never know. Many times have I gazed upon the line in bend. Shapons are a thing of two parts and I have not seen that occur in the shape realm or any other realm with reliability or in sustainable quantity.
When a curve or a line touches itself, a shape is formed.”
“What is a line?” from The Practical Guide to Sexual and Spiritual Reformat by S. Gleamer