I have been silent for a while, pondering that question. What am I looking at?
I still don’t know what is there, when looking out the window or across a sea of faces down town.
To me, what I see appear cartoon-like, as though the real images lie hidden behind a mash-up of my own expectations and the stories I tell myself.
‘Beautiful view!’ ‘Oh, the colours are changing again, autumn is here!’ ‘The neighbour is taking a walk…’
We see with our mind as much as with our eyes; we see what we expect to see; we tend to only see what our culture, our education and our prejudices have trained us to see. I once heard a story about how in 1520 when the Portugese explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived in Tierra del Fuego in South America, the Del Fuego Indians, who lived around the area, could not see his ships as they entered the bay – the boats were too big! Nothing in their past experience had prepared them for the idea that vessels could be as big as floating houses – they were used to canoes, and tiny canoes were the only reality for them.
I find it an exciting prospect to try to properly look at what I see when I open my eyes. Terry Pratchett wrote in one of his books that ‘First you open your eyes. And then you open them again.’
Here’s to an autumn of seeing. And sculpting.
Badger by Adrian Arleo