The Thing Of Nature That Defies Or Defers, Rather Than Presupposes, Representation

By Douglas Kearney

I’m cool standing, we say to the studio chaise’s cooling board ambition. The photographer sets for a fruitless still life. Attempted portraits of us are inclined to landscape orientation. It isn’t that we’d fish-eye the lens, but that some eyes’ lenses insist something fishy. The shutterbug keeps on checking that the camera’s uncapped. We get it, we get it: though is it we be constricting light, or vacay it to rich space? Photog cocks a new angle, bent on composing what rubatos composure and composition. The kamera kalkulates us as low light; seems we might be a dim holt, in a damp hull, or a damned hole (in it or itself). Though is it we (who) be conscripting eyes, or melee them to sic race? And-a-one, two, three: say cheese! We say life, inclined to insist on checking that constricting, bent low might (damned in itself—sick, too). This very teeming skeeves some, its accommodation of objects into a body, its embodiment of objecthood, we are actor and scene—the frame only part of the production. We quit the sitting, since the work to our living’s an off-camera oeuvre. That surveillance produces the nothing it suspects we are. Please don’t throw me in that periphery, says the rabbit figment.

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