Posted by: glue | May 17, 2010

Figuring

FIGURE:

Extimacy

In trying to find a figure to relate to, I looked at several photographs of the disaster from various websites. The picture that stood out the most was the vandalized statue of Rigas Feraios, a Greek writer and revolutionary. The statue, like all statues in Greece, is meant to inspire confidence in the system and patriotism, while at the same time maintaining strong ties to Greek history. In some news reports, pictures of the statue with the anarchy symbol spray painted on it are used as accompanying images to the story, to convey some kind of symbolism – perhaps a loss of faith in Greek democracy and a decline in social pride. However, the statue’s vandalism (as well as the other acts of vandalism following the death of the boy) could have been just another random or misdirected action. In any case, thinking about the statue made me realize that even if we are physically present in the disaster as it happens (of course, without acknowledging it as a disaster at the time) we can never fully know why it happened, even if it is a “man-made” disaster. We hold on to figures that stand out in hopes of making sense of it, and hoping that those figures will trigger something in us that will explain the disaster on our own terms. But at the same time, our “figure” makes us aware of the remoteness of the disaster…(Well, these are my initial thoughts on the figure, which I’m sure I’ll revise as I blog some more).  M.H.

The figure happens only to the extent that you provide sensory details.  The import or signification is inferred by readers from the way you develop the proportional analogy.  You  don’t provide the meaning (you  don’t explain), but you create a “kit” from which the visitor constructs the meaning.  As for middle voice, you  know it is working when the  writing gives you the feeling.  In fact, you  don’t worry  about the visitor at all, since if you affect yourself, that guarantees not that the blog will be “understood,” but  that it will mean.  We are working in the middle voice, using the disaster to mediate auto-affection.

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