The year’s 2312.
All bees are dead.
America is dead.
All we have left is applesauce.
At least when you’re little you can blame your parents. You can lock your bedroom door and tell yourself you’ll escape all of this and everything will be so much better when you do. But now I can’t escape anything but myself and what I’ve become. I have to accept all of the bridges I’ve burned, all of the bridges I shouldn’t have built in the first place, and all of the habits I’ve formed and the place inside of me that says fuck it I don’t care. I have to accept all of that because it’s mine now and there’s no one to lock out of my room. When I write like this I sometimes just delete it because I feel guilty for sharing my melancholy and then I think if I can’t write it here, on my own damn blog, then how am I ever going to open up again in real life?
Sometimes you have someone that makes you feel fully alive but you know that you’re more excited by their company than they are by yours. And then sometimes it is the other way around. Someone is wonderful. They treat you with perfect kindness and thoughtfulness and they’re brilliantly smart and sweet and yet you know that they for some crazy incomprehensible reason take more pleasure in your company than you do in theirs and it is almost too much to spend time with them because you don’t want expectations to build. It hurts both ways because that imbalance seems to always surface at the moment a connection has been forged, and so just as you are closer the blunder of this awareness begins to dispel something beautiful.
We were discussing language in a class. Can anything exist without language? Some people say, yes everything exists without it. Some people say what about symbols? But symbols are language. What about feelings? But what are feelings if we can’t discern and disseminate them through language?
Foucault talks about language in Madness and Civilization. I read this in undergrad but I still remember the Ship of Fools- those that live on the exterior of society, rebelling from the system. Even rebelling requires knowledge of language, and language becomes a tool with which to give objects significance, create meaning, and then preserve a language through meaning whether it’s a reflection or a differing response to it.
Thinking is informing us through definitions. We can grasp a utopian fantasy of being outside of this system of thinking but there is still an internal system of significance. And there’s always a system within us working, changing, evolving.
Textiles in fashion fascinate me because they symbolize a departure from normality. Runway fashion and museum fashion is often extravagant, expensive and even unwearable. It’s made to embody a meaning. Fashion by Viktor and Rolf, for example, when they created a trench coat with weird oblong letters shaped in 3D form over the coat were at once showcasing a conventional form of uniform (the trench coat was initially made for soldiers by Burberry) but it also breaks convention with multidimensional words like “dream”, that conjure up opposing fantastical images to our brains than military conformity.
So you may now ask but does it really not exist if there are no words? Well first of all no words creates frustration because we will try to make words and fail. If we know more languages and words we tend to be happier because we have more ways in which to understand our own emotions and behaviors. But also, if a tree falls in the woods without hearing it does it exist? Yes it does but not in our realities. We immediately form languages, whether they’re conventional or not, to comprehend our realities. That’s what makes us something real, whatever that may be.
I think language in words is limited. Especially when we lack information, or concepts, or approach things from different backgrounds and connotations and modes of understanding. Words are probably the most deliciously appealing and most frustrating and limited form of communication. They have become more technical, choppy, crunched into short, abbreviated forms. They are spliced and interwoven into the languages of other countries and computers. But they are just words. Language exists on multiple levels. Even if we argue about it here with words, we are building in our minds, ideas through visual concepts, through symbols and memories and emotional connections. Every bit of our existence is built upon these connections and internal structures of understanding, that are changing, and deconstructed, and disseminated, and rebuilt over time.
Language exists in everything and that it is vital to our existence: Language of the body. Language of touch. Language in our expressions, in our clothes, in the way we carry ourselves. The language of music, or visual arts, of dance, of sex. It is our consciousness, in our minds but down to the very molecules that build up to the being that we imagine ourselves to be.
The dialogue that exists between ourselves and our bodies, ourselves and others, and with nature, and with other living organisms. Conscious language, in words, symbols, and concepts, and unconscious language, that influences our intuition and our mechanical responses. Language is inherent in everything, it is how we accrue significance, and significance is in definition language. So even if we were to lose the ability to speak, to define, to discern, or to reason, there are a multitude of ways in which we communicate and exist, and all of these together are language.
Having said all that I don’t think we can even justify a reality without words, and the confines of words. That’s why I strive to grasp more of them to realize what I see around me. In the simplest of time, during the time of cave men and australopithecines language existed to grasp what was necessary for the existence of the times. And yet everything around us has increased in complexity and growing detached from our bodies and nature we yearn to understand the disconnect that is happening all around us, and to build a system that can patch the cuts separating us from others and ourselves.
Derrida would be the first to critique and break apart our systems of defining language. But he also realizes the inherent existence of language, or significance and meaning, in everything that we can understand. He says “Every discourse, even a poetic or oracular sentence, carries with it a system of rules for producing analogous things and thus an outline of methodology”. As I mentioned before, and I will say again, any rebelling or fantastical utopian view of a world without systematic structures must first, in the state of current consciousness, understand the systems that it chooses to rebel against. ANd even in breaking apart from conventional standards of defining and systematizing one’s self or others, we are born into mental systems that help us to reason, to connect, to build relationships and to communicate. Every dialogue, whether verbal or not, contains these complexities, and cannot be ignored.
Are eyes really windows to the soul? When I was little I learned how to deal with my dad’s temper by staring at him without any expression. I have rather big teal-blue eyes, and I would stare into his rather icy blue eyes and he would get incredibly angry at my lack of responsiveness and I felt it was my best form of rebellion against his anger. Now I tend to wear glasses not just to see but to hide behind, because I’m so socially claustrophobic. When I like a guy and have an opportunity to hang out with him one on one for the first time my pupils dilate and my eyes sparkle. When I’m sad or disappointed my brow furrows. So these are emotional responses and my eyes and brows reflect them. Some people have more of a handle over the way that they are seen, and consciously alter there responses, but they still have the frankness of the eyes to constrain.
Some faces you can penetrate, because they are always cross or smiling, and yet their transparent eyes appear systematically blank. In a way these practiced expressions have the eyes I reserved for my dad’s temper, and they are locked in neutrality. But if you converse with them for long enough, they give away who they are, and they cannot lie. So we continually are attracted to and yet repulsed by the primoridal authenticity of the eye, and we cannot help but scrutinize it. We sense sickness. We sense intelligence. We sense attraction. We sense fear.
And as with anything involving the body, we have our histories and our associative memories to enlighten us to which eyes we enjoy, distrust, gravitate toward or feel repelled by or both. For instance, when I see certain eye colors I am immediately drawn to an association. Dark brown is comforting. Light brown is quizzical. Green is sexy. Light blue is cold. Dark blue envelops me like the ocean. Hazel leaves me questioning. These associations blend and evolve in the ways the eyes manipulate the face, and vice versa. When eyes are small I think my eyes squint back. When eyes are large I think of receptivity and children, but also sexiness, and I want to fall inside them. When they are bulging I want to inch away. When your brows are bushy I think of science and nature and chaos. When they are trimmed and painted I think of geishas and Sephora and cholas and insecurity. If they’re extremely wide set like Jackie O.’s, then I personally feel a keen intelligence, yet if they are too close together I may slow down my words to accommodate my worry over your intellect. A friend in undergrad, who was very stoned, said sparkling eyes were witch eyes, and so this thought unwillingly carved out a place in my mind that the sparkling eyes were the warlocks and witches among me, and that I too might be a witch. Again, these are all just subconscious deductions.
It’s impossible to say what it is about eyes that make them the first thing we want to see and the first we want to avoid. Perhaps because like a window, they are a glimpse past our skin, and a sneak into all of the juices that are bottled up inside, hydrating our brains and sustaining our bodies. Perhaps because eyes are just two small organs in our skulls, not even an inch, but they can distinguish 10 millions colors. Perhaps because when we look at fluttering eyelids we know that someone is nervous or hiding something. And when someone’s eyes are shifting back and forth and all around they are usually processing information. And when someone is troubled they squint. And when someone’s bored their pupils contract. And when they blink more than average they may be attracted to us. And when they look to the left they may be reminscing. And when they look up and to the right they are probably bored.
These are things that we innately understand, if not consciously. And so in our eyes we capture a person, and unless they are great actors, and even if they are, we may be able to discern who they are, apart from the words, apart from the body, and apart from the carefully crafted presentation of the self. I do know that couples who look into each other’s eyes for extended periods of time tend to follow in love deeper. And that eye contact frightens most people because of the intimacy that it can establish. I suppose if every part of my body were to go, that I would hope the eyes would be the last, because they carry every bit of us in their small orbs; a universe of the mind wrapped into two slimy chambers.
You told her she had a pretty face.
I studied it.
Too many Instagram filters.
Too much eyeliner.
I don’t think you ever said anything about my face.
I think I had paid you all the compliments, hundreds like raindrops over your skin, I washed you clean.
I left you emptied.
Vacant. Anyone could move in.
I had to leave.
You left first.
Clou le Fou
In conjunction with my photography exploring negative space, I have also been writing in that silent time between midnight and 4am, and here I have gathered memories and words from that space between dreams and reality.