Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I love this passage.

Once objects and stories are untethered from the singularity of their possession, they become infinite. In her book, On Longing, Susan Stewart writes, “The photograph as souvenir is a logical extension of the pressed flower, the preservation of an instant in time through a reduction of physical dimensions and a corresponding increase in significance supplied by means of narrative. The silence of the photograph, its promise of visual intimacy at the expense of other senses (its glossy surface reflecting us back and refusing us penetration), makes the eruption of that narrative, the telling of its story, all the more poignant. For the narration of the photograph will become an object of nostalgia. Without marking, all ancestors become abstractions, losing their proper names; all family trips become the same trip—the formal garden, the waterfall, the picnic site, and the undifferentiated sea become attributes of every country.” The ‘marking’ Stewart refers to is that of possession. Without this referent new meanings can be born.

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