Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Travels in the Scriptorium by Paul Auster

I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this visual journey. I hope I will continue to receive submissions from you as the journey continues. Here are the images from Travels in the Scriptorium. Please take the time to vote on your favorite image and offer constructive criticism on any of the images. My professors used to rip my prints in half if they didn't like them so I can take it, you won't hurt my feelings.

The old man sits on the edge of the narrow bed, palms spread out on his knees, head down, staring at the floor. He has no idea that a camera is planted in the ceiling directly above him. The shutter clicks silently once every second, producing eighty-six thousand four hundred still photos with each revolution of the earth. Even if he knew he was being watched, it wouldn't make any difference. His mind is elsewhere, stranded among the figments in his head as he searches for an answer to the question that haunts him.

Who is he? What is he doing here? When did he arrive and how long will he remain? With any luck, time will tell us all. For the moment, our only task is to study the pictures as attentively as we can and refrain from drawing any premature conclusions.

There are a number of objects in the room, and on each one a strip of white tape has been affixed to the surface, bearing a single word written out in block letters. On the lamp, the word is LAMP. Even on the wall, which is not strictly speaking an object, there is a strip of tape that reads WALL. The old man looks up for a moment, sees the wall, sees the strip of tape attached to the wall, and pronounces the word wall in a soft voice. What cannot be known at this point is whether he is reading the word on the strip of tape or simply referring to the wall itself. It could be that he has forgotten how to read but still recognizes things for what they are and can call them by their names, or, conversely, that he has lost the ability to recognize things for what they are but still knows how to read.

I will try and do images in the order that the submissions came in. Next up is a contribution from Tea. She wrote "I'm reading Defining the Wind by Scott Huler - it's about the Beaufort Scale, so my descriptive passage is the Beaufort Scale itself: http://www.merriam-webster.com/table/dict/beaufort.htm. I need a model for this idea so I will hopefully find one and be able to still shoot and post by next week. I have a call into Bob Dylan's agent, hopefully he will call back soon?


Anonymous said...

another submission:

Thinner Than Thou by Kit Reed

When you're alone in your mind you may think you're special, but you're only ever another dumb person driving around inside that stupid body. It's no better than a car dealer's loaner, you know? Forget what the Reverend Earl preaches,the body you are using is no temple, it's a trap for the contents of your head. You want to think about who you are and what to do about it but instead you obsess over the parts that people see. Keep it clean and keep it polished or they'll come for you. Perfect hair, you need. Perfect outfits. Perfect abs and pecs! Image is everything. You grow up with this and in case you don't happen to know, they teach it in all your classes.

Naomi said...

Based on the passage, I like the third and fourth images (in that order). The third one evokes different questions: Is he confused? Sad? Frustrated? And I like the fourth because "mirror" is hazy, reflecting the confusion that the reader (or narrator?) feels.

Though I like the first two images, I don't see the connection to the passage as literally. I get a sense of things being broken into parts, but the "me" label seems like a stretch in terms of how it relates to the text.

William Zuback said...

Good points Naomi. Thanks.