Seeing the Unsighted
Seeing the Unsighted, 2016 / Edition of 3 / Horsehair & wood brushes, watermarked Dobbin Mill papers, archival inkjet photograph, palladium gilding
Size: 14.5” x 12.75” x 3.25”
The copy of Synecdoche is from the Pratt Institute Libraries Special Collections
Seeing the Unsighted consists of multiple elements: 4 brushes, handmade from poplar and horsehair, display words formed in the contrasting dark and light bristles: I AM / I WAS / EYE / DESIST — microfiction in 6 words. The brushes lay on a tray printed with text fragments from the narrative about Hermaphroditus in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, along with my own commentary. These sentences
expound on the words in the brushes resting above them, suggesting the power & intention of the human gaze.
The brushes’ physicality contrasts with the contents of its compendium, Synecdoche. A synecdoche is a figure of speech in which a word for a part of something refers to the whole. In this artist book, the sequence of shapes appearing in the watermarked pages reveals itself as eyelashes, and the eye only appears in the centerfold: It is a stand-in for the Self.
At the end of the book, a quote from Elective Affinities by Goethe appears in both German & English:
Man mag sich stellen, wie man will, und man denkt sich immer sehend.
Ich glaube der Mensch träumt nur, damit er nicht aufhören zu sehen.
One always imagines oneself seeing.
I think we dream solely to prevent ourselves from ceasing to see.