Unreal Nature

March 24, 2015

The Sum Will Never Be the Same

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:55 am

… Human nature, … is the sum of human contradictions … ; add up those contradictions two or more times in a row …

This is from the essay ‘I Am I Because … ‘ by Robert Storr in Art:21: Art in the Twenty-First Century (2001). In the segment quoted, Storr is discussing the dog photographs of William Wegman:

“I am I because my little dog knows me.” So said the American writer Gertrude Stein.

… In theory at least, these displaced perspectives are multiplied by the number of dogs or companions one has had. Thus, the simplest of phrases may lead us into a hall of mirrors in which our identity is reflected back on us from so many angles and with so many distortions that the self that is projected onto the mirrors is lost in a crowd of alter egos.

wegman_womanInChair
[by William Wegman]

As far as thinking you have a hold on your identity because your dog recognizes you is concerned, Stein added, “That does not prove anything about you it only proves something about your dog.” If, like Stein, you credit dogs with the ability to distinguish among humans in all their protean facets, then the question arises of how many sides the personality of a given dog might encompass, followed by the question of how those different aspects might be revealed, and under what circumstances, and to whom. In short order, our hall of mirrors becomes a sparkling labyrinth peopled with a kaleidoscopic display of women and men and their best canine friends.

wegman_Art21
[by William Wegman]

… Human nature, such as it is, is the sum of human contradictions with this important qualification; add up those contradictions two or more times in a row according to the experiences of two or more people, or even the same person on two or more days, and the sum will never be the same.

Wegman-wPuppy

-Julie

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