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the music forbids deep silence
Leonardo da Vinci
From his Treatise on Painting
"You should look at certain walls stained with damp, or at stones of uneven colour. If you have to invent some backgrounds you will be able to see in these the likeness of divine landscapes, adorned with mountains, ruins, rocks, woods, great plains, hills and valleys in great variety: and then again you will see there battles and strange figures in violent action, and expressions of faces and clothes and an infinity of things which you will be able to reduce to their complete and proper forms. In such walls the same thing happens as in the sound of a bell, in whose stroke you may find every named word you can imagine."
span of days
From Fragments of an Aesthetic of Melancholy
Because, first of all, they are a compendium of desires – contrasting, contradictory, impacted, immobilizing.
The desire to become fully visible, to be seen (at last) as one is, to be honest, to be unmasked.
The desire to hide, to be camouflaged. To be elsewhere. Other. The desire to impersonate someone else, but that is not other enough. The desire to escape from a merely human appearance: to be an animal, not a person, an object (stone? wood? metal? cloth?), not a person, to be done with personhood.
The desire to be emblematic. Impervious to age and the distress of flesh.
The desire to accede to the ruins of time, to be reconciled with the depredations of time, to become a ruin.
The desire to punish the self. The desire to place no aim before that of gratifying it.
The desire to dissolve the self into the world, the desire to reduce the world to matter, something one can inscribe oneself on, sink into, be saturated with. The desire to compete with one’s own image, to become image, artifact; art; form….
The desire to be stripped down, to be naked, to be concealed, to disappear, to be only one’s skin, to mortify the skin, to petrify the body, to become fixed, to become dematerialized, a ghost, to become matter only, inorganic matter, to stop, to die.