Category: Difficult absences

If you ever wondered what silence looks like, there you go! This absence initially is a bit of a riddle. The easy part is understanding the expression on her face. Then you need to interpret the empty balloon. Those who know anything about comics, will know that it’s not just a weird ellipse, but a bubble that’s missing words. Also, this is a speech, rather than a thought, balloon. So, this absence denotes speechlessness or silence. You may then just conclude that it’s her silence. Her emotions took the place of words. But it gets trickier. The tail of the bubble is pointing away from her – which standardly means that the bubble belongs to the “off-screen” character – one who is not a part of the visible scene. So if it’s not her bubble, this silence belongs to the person we don’t see! A double absence.

Comics are hard.


This picture is interesting because it depicts an absence in a way that does not immediately grab your attention. The absence sneaks up on you only after you scrutinize the building and figure out what kind of a room it is. In my case, I ended up with a somewhat incongruent experience of absence because I am not used to buildings of this type looking this way. So, my experience just keeps switching to a positive experience of the beautiful detail in the interior and the architecture.

I liked this picture because it shows how subtle absences of large objects may be. What are you seeing? Did it take you a while to see an absence or did you notice it immediately? Do you think it has to do with how the picture is taken (the angle or the perspective) or with the character of the building interior?

What’s missing?