Friday, April 08, 2011

The Opposite of Prosopagnosia

I am fascinated by our ability to recognize ourselves and one another from the tiniest fragments. My series of photos of shop windows and what is displayed and reflected in them plays off this fascination while making abstract art of the intentional goods for sale, the street scene, the passing parade. In this shot, almost nothing of me remains. But there I am, a crown of spiky hair. And in my mind I'm quite confident it's me. My mind is, in fact, filling in the rest of the head and face.

I think one reason I take these pictures is that, in spite of my age (somewhere in the twilight or at least the late afternoon of life), I'm not sure who I am. I want to discover that I'm fat or thin (more the former), old or young (more the former as well) and whether my spiky hair is as insouciant as I hope (yes, I think so, sometimes).

Oliver Saks has a disorder called prosopagnosia. He has difficulty recognizing faces, sometimes even his own. I think I have an ability, once I know someone pretty well, to recognize not just their faces but their voices, body language, gestures from the smallest hints.

This heightened ability that I believe I have does not mean that I can describe a person accurately when they are not present. I'd be hard-pressed to tell you their hair color or eye color accurately. The ability seems somewhere beyond description and into instinct.

As to knowing myself. All one has to go on for the physical is looking at the parts of the body that one can see from the vantage point of one's head, looking in mirrors and looking at photos. (And reflections.) Mirrors (and reflections in general) reverse the image. Is this important? Not usually, I don't think.

Examining this image we have a wire chicken (although that isn't too obvious) some circle shapes and that hair. It's me. There is an, um, emptiness. But in expressing that maybe this picture is a very accurate self protrait.

For the second picture of the day, I offer a self portrait of me along with himself. Shapes and patterns abound. FFP is in profile with tip offs of glasses and nose. Certainly it's him. But my head and shoulders? Obscured by shop window clothes? It's definitely me. At least I can see it for sure. Can you?

Are these art? I don't know what you think...but they are my art. They are Multiply Appropriated Portraits and Landscapes. I've been thinking about this for a long time. See my original artist's statement and critic's comment. There are many more entries in this blog slogging through this subject. And these entries are illustrated with what I call art.

Do I have to do something more with them? Do I have to offer prints? Make physical objects (perhaps mirror-lined, reflective glass shadow boxes with prints in them or prints sliced and made into collages)? Do I do something further with them digitally? Make digital collages of them with varying opacity or animated slide shows of them? With appropriated music? The choices overwhelm. I think I'll take a nap and ponder it.

2 comments:

Jerry of Dallas said...

Do you realize you're creating A-R-T?

Linda said...

Art? Spelled out with all caps? Surely not.