Thursday, April 8, 2010

"If blindness belongs to old age, it also belongs to infancy. We cannot remember seeing as infants, and so in a sense we all began blind and remained that way for several years. How did I see as an infant, and what did I see? One of the reasons I cannot answer those questions is that memory is necessary for vision. Everything from the first few years of my life is lost to me, partly because I was not old enough to remember seeing, to think of seeing while it was happening. In the most elementary way, seeing and memory go together, and the blindness of my infancy was a time when sight and memory were not yet linked. . . This infantile blindness is not physical blindness, but it is more than just a metaphor. If I have no visual memory whatsoever from those first few years, in what sense was I not blind?"
From The Object Stares Back: On the Nature of Seeing by James Elkins.

Seeing, interpreting, drawing, remembering. What do you see and what kind of line does it turn into and what does it mean much later? I've had sketchbooks since the middle of high school that link drawings to the most specific memories. A drawing of a cup of tea--one of dozens--may mean it was 5 pm on New Year's Eve in 2006 with Ryan Larry at Pannikin and it was raining.