Monday, November 22, 2004

Metaphysical Composure

Start with a large sheet of polished glass and a naked body. The pane of glass should be monumental in size and thickness, but perfectly transparent, perfectly clean. Set it upright on the ground and pose the body next to it. Let the body stand with its back to the glass. The head should be tilted downwards and stare to the left, into the middle distance. It should comport itself toward the glass monument like the guy at the end of the scene who hears the telephone ringing.

6 comments:

Laura Carter said...

Is it a man or a woman?

Thomas Basbøll said...

Is that a rhetorical question? Metaphysics is, ideally, indifferent to gender. I guess I had hoped it wouldn't come up. For what it's worth, part of the idea, for me, comes from a statue of a woman.

Laura Carter said...

It wasn't a rhetorical question---it just felt like something was missing that I didn't know (though I'd assume a woman also).

I'm not sure that my metaphysic is ultimately gender-indifferent. We may disagree on this.

Jay said...

Darn it, I read the comments before the piece. So of course I pictured a woman.

The telephone ring, the reference to a (still generic) scene - these effected a kind of zoom-out effect for me. Not unlike being jolted out of contemplation by a telephone ringing. Except here the telephone seems to function as a call into further contemplation. Not sure how else to describe the effect, but I very much enjoyed it.

Thomas Basbøll said...

I'm not saying that metaphysics should proceed as though there is no difference between the sexes, I'm saying that metaphysics ought to cultivate a resolute indifference to gender, and many other things. That said, maybe the indication that something is missing, something unknown, is part of the indication of the ground of all experience (metaphysics). And it may not be trivial that this something is precisely the gender of the posed body. But I think I'm just making excuses now. Will try harder next time.

Thomas Basbøll said...

Thanks for the comment, Jay. I have a very clear image of a scene in a soap opera with one of those thick-lipped (male) actors with thick black hair in a dark suit, and those gawdawful soap opera acoustics, leaving the cheap imitation of an expensive room, thinking everything is fine now, and then the phone rings. Something in the way everything stops and the way the distance between the phone and the body suddenly imposes perspective (depth) on the scene is what I was after. I take your remark about the zoom-out as evidence of success and choose to flatter myself. Thanks.