When I was in grad school, I stumbled across “Ways of Seeing” by John Berger, a brilliant book that explores (among other things) the intersection between the viewer and the one viewed, and how women, in particular are shaped by this objectification that is so readily and insistently, prevalent in art. The self-portrait plays with this complex relationship (think Cindy Sherman, whose self-portraits spanned decades), as the viewer becomes also, the viewed. As Berger states, “The way we see things is affected by what we know or what we believe.”
I like to think that nobody knows me better than me…meaning, nobody will see me quite the way that I see me. To you, I am simply a face; but when I see myself, I see a tangled web of accomplishments, failures,scars, ages, relationships, roles, etc.. all of this glancing back at me as I study my reflection.
The way we see filters every engagement in our daily existence: our interactions with others, our opinions, the way we parent, create art, engage with money, the way we remember, vote, purchase food, buy books, take vacations, the way we think. This raises the question of whether or not what we see is reliable…or in other words, whether or not we are ever capable of truly seeing “truth” – because at the heart of truth, there can only really be perception…which is shaped through the specific lens of the viewer, a lens that has been formed through their history: experiences, disappointments, hunger, knowledge, understanding, upbringing,etc and etc…. No two people can truly “see” the same. Sight is individual, as is truth.
What it means to be human in the 21 Century is so very different than what it meant 100 years ago…even 20 years ago. Technology has dropped us into the deepest depths of the sea, which is largely dark in its abyss and vastly unexplored. It’s exciting, and challenging in unchartered ways. We are constantly discovering (my greatest hope for all of us!) and coming to new places of understanding, discovering fresh approaches that might help to keep our minds open so that we can unearth new ways of seeing…new ways of being. With ekholab I aim to write on topics that resonate with my personal life: being a writer/artist/mother/wife/friend/sister/daughter/dog owner (ha ha!)
I’m still getting the hang of how to operate in WordPress, so please pardon my rudimentary approach. Thank for reading, and stay tuned. Welcome to ekholab!