behind your eyes

21 Feb

What can appear in this space?

more and more that’s the question that fascinates me–what are the rules of appearance? IN theatre, yes, but also in the spectacular and theatrical arena of everyday war, the public sphere with its visible superbowl stadiums and hidden returning coffins, its jivin’ mardi-gras balls and (shockingly hidden in plain sight) third world city on the Levee, its everywhere ROTC units and hidden iraqi dead.

michael herr, in Dispatches from Vietnam :
You are as responsible for everything you see as you were for everything you did. The trouble was, you often didn’t know what it was you were seeing til years later, it just stayed stored behind your eyes.

I love this. I don’t think it means I CAUSED everything I see but that untangling its meanings, and the invisibility hidden behind appearance, is my job– to not just stay hypnotized by appearance. (And more and more, by non-appearance— by what’s missing from the picture.) One of the things that’s in the picture, if I’m there looking— is me. It may not seem like it at the time. When we look, we sometimes forget that we are there looking, organizing or holding that picture in place. Why else do charities publish pictures of adorable orphans from war zones?

what can appear in this space– what is the organizing matrix, the ruling system, of what is before us? and how does it “make us look”— in both senses of “make us look” —
how does theatre (and mediated war) fictionalize its audience and or involve our own fiction and meaning-making machinery?

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