Salman Rushdie in Imaginary Homelands. Essays and Criticism 1981-1991 writes about a book of images by John Bishton and John Reardon called Home Front. He makes this point:
But the significance of such a photographic essay as Home Front is not only aesthetic. For these are images of people who have for centuries been persecuted by images. The imagination can falsify, demean, ridicule, caricature and wound as effectively as it can clarify, intensify and unveil; and from the slaves of old to the British-born black children of the present, there have been many who could testify to the pain of being subjected to white society’s view of them.
Notes from the beginnings of a sketch of a meditation (notes written in ink and revisited with remarks in pencil later, some years later) [here transcribed in a set of vertical blocks].
the seen afar pictures
To see. }
To picture. }
To set. }
– benign sight –
This is the beginning of an
interrogation of the traces
of a ray theory vision
in Freudian scopophilia.
Under “Object” was added in pencil two lines:
To mark distance.
Under the “-benign sight-” inscription was added a whole paragraph in pencil:
If there is a distinction between to see and to picture reciprocal gaze becomes impossible. The dream of the ray theory of vision — the return of the gaze by the object — reveals itself to be chimera. To see & be seen, a neat little two-way interaction, becomes quite different when the activity is one of picturing.
Pen, pencil and transcription. The pieces float by and with juxtapositions drift on again. Still have to figure out how a ray vision theory ties into imagination as explained by Rushdie.
On the back of the paper from which is transcribed the content of Frame Two is a page from a bibliography with selected quotations and comments and there is to be found an exemplary excerpt from the explanation that poet Jerome Rothenberg gives of his concept of “total translation.”
Rothenberg, Jerome. Shaking the Pumpkin: Traditional Poetry of the Indian North Americas. Revised Edition. New York: Alfred Van der Mark, 1986. This along with the anthology Technicians of the Sacred offer examples of Rothenberg’s concern with what he calls “total translation,” a term he uses “for translation (of oral poetry in particular) that takes into account any or all elements of the original beyond the words.” (xxi) “Each moment is charged: each is a point at which meaning is coming to surface, where nothing’s incidental but everything matters terribly.” (xix)
And the bits we carry with us cohere. Up to a point. For in that entry on Rothenberg there is a note to “Compare with Hermetic Imagination” which is like a signal to be wary of the plenitude of meaning that can overwhelm. As Rushdie concludes: “We live in ideas. Through images we seek to comprehend our world. And through images we sometimes seek to subjugate and dominate others. But picture-making, imagining can also be a process of celebration, even of liberation. New images can chase out the old.”
And so for day 853