July, 2011 Archives

I usually resist posting really obvious cases of absences, especially if they concern abandoned buildings, empty space, missing body parts and so on. I think that contemporary art is oversaturated with images of that sort. This Moscow Metro shot by a Romanian photographer Cristian Movila is a bit in that line: stylistically impeccable but too plain in its message (though that may be the intent). However, I think that the picture is brilliant for other reasons. A first glance at the scene will reveal absence of a crowd on the escalator. This should answer the question of how many absences you can see at once – lots! Then, if you pay attention, you’ll notice that the empty escalator is supposed to be going down. Does this affect your subsequent experience of absence, that is, do you now see absence of people who are supposed to be going down? My experience remains vague and does not ascribe orientation to this absence. There is only a general sense that the people are missing and I can’t train myself to see this absence more determinately. So why is vision deaf to cognition here?

Oriented Absences