An optometry of ice cream

O.D.: Let the lamp affix its beam.

As the pioneer photographer Lewis Carroll understood, when a lens approaches a reflective surface

the surface can fold vision back on itself and make the act of seeing a complement to the state of being seen. Under that condition

(O.S.), there may seem to be seen (for instance) an orbit filled with a globe. In that globe, let there be partially visible below its half-reflective surface an image of a camera held by a man seeing through its lens.

You can visualize that. “Let be be finale of seem,” says the lamplighted poem to you, calling your attention to its flashy display. But of all the elements in that display, the lens, of all things, can’t be used for seeing. As soon as it started sinking into the globe, it stopped being an apparatus to serve you and became part of globe’s image, in globe’s orbit. And there you cannot enter. You are out in the black, where the light of O.D. shines past but not into. Empirical confirmation: you couldn’t see the man in the act of his being until you had read these words instructing you what his reflection was supposed to seem to be.

A steamroller, a cat, five judgments, and Miss Moore

1.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1923_Aveling_%26_Porter_E_Type_Stream_Roller.jpg

2, as posted yesterday.

3. About (2),

— Yong Ju writes, “Cute!”

— Jane writes, “Amazing eyes!”

— Cora writes, “Darling!”

— Susan writes, “Hooray for kittens!!!”

— Fran writes, “Scary . .”

 

4. Within duly qualifying quotation marks, Miss Moore tentatively concludes in her “To a Steam Roller” that

Therefore (5),

 

Yeats with Blake, remade

At

https://blog.blakearchive.org/2017/10/17/yeats/

Hell’s Printing Press, the blog of the Blake Archive and Blake Quarterly, carries a portrait of William Butler Yeats holding a copy of his edition of Blake, the book that established Blake’s prophetic works in the canon of English poetry. Following the link will take you to views of the portrait in two states: the original photograph, taken in a New York hotel room in 1920 for the Bain News Service, and a reconstruction processed by me in 2017.

But Photoshop is more powerful now than it was in 2017, and Yeats was the poet who sang, “It is myself that I remake.” So here is a second attempt at seeing him in the same image with Blake.

 

(vicinity). The white apron, September 1943

On September 23, 1943, Henry Moore revisited an air raid shelter in the London Underground and reenacted the death-defying role he had played there three years earlier, during the battle of Britain. This time, however, he stood without a pencil in his hand, and a movie crew was on the scene to establish its own ever-changing record. For that sculpture without stone, the sculptor and his models had changed into spectators of one another, living on in time after the timeless art was finished.

“World War II, London, England, 23rd September 1943, Henry Moore, official war artist, is pictured revisiting London’s Underground tube shelters, to pose for a film showing how he obtained his ideas for his paintings of blitz-shelterers (Photo by Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images).” https://media.gettyimages.com/photos/world-war-ii-london-england-23rd-september-1943-henry-moore-official-picture-id78960804

Somewhere aboveground, simultaneously, a white apron had draped itself over a woman’s round body. We don’t know who the woman was, or just where. The same history that confidently told Henry Moore “Alight here” places her only in a parenthesis named “(vicinity).” But next to her in (vicinity) there once did stand the flattened forms of another woman and a dog. Coursing and smiling but unbreathing, those are works of dead art.

We see the woman in white in a different way. She whom the drape conceals from our sight was capable of the adventitious. Only she could have violated art by dropping a burning cigarette into weedy space.

Esther Bubley, “Cincinnati (vicinity), Ohio. A ticket agent at a small bus station,” September 1943. U.S. Farm Security Administration / Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2017861708/. Contrast and detail restored.

It has remained. Wherever (vicinity) is, a chair still awaits its white-aproned woman, rocking a little in the air pushed ahead of her arrival.