Picture yourself in an art gallery eyeing the mysterious beauty of some post-modern painterly disaster hanging on one of the gallery walls. Conceive now the world you are standing in, the very same world that holds in its bosom those atrocious paintings hanging on the gallery walls, as one unitary painterly mess. Yourself now, as Pantocrator, a dark painterly mass hovering just beneath the breath flowing out of your nostrils… The word that seeks, finds: I exist. The pictorial. The pictorial, born out of something one performs, is the dimension of creation and destruction… in artifice. Reality, after all, is never a problem for the painter.
The photograph always looks like the world. The photograph is always automatic. But you have to take a photograph to make it look the same. The automatism spoken of here does not delete the photographer; indeed, here holding the photograph, I must be. ‘The photographic’ belongs to that which bears any resemblance to the photograph, therefore to anything which causes one to recognise in the thing the world.
Depth and motion are ancillary to Time and in arbitrary relation to it. Having thus reduced depth and motion, that is, having performed a complete reduction of that which is and happens in Space, we are faced with Time as non-Being. Indeed, Time in itself does not have Being. Being is Being and has being. Only Being is Being and has being. Non-being, since it is not being, (and all that which is, is Being), can only be ancillary and in arbitrary relation to Being. Time is a mode of Being; Time without Being is impossible. Why is it that Being opens the dimension of Time? Because Time is being; it takes time to be. If it takes time to be, Being must be an effort; it is an effort being a being in-being. Being is an effort in being that which is intended; Being strains to be. ‘To be’ is one’s intention. Hence, ‘to be’ is always ‘to be for’. (“I must be being [??] for a reason…”) ‘To be’ opens Time. Time is time for the world: I have time for. Being-for accommodates.
Photographs need not exist because one can always see one. But the photograph is purportedly what was. A photograph is always what was. The future has facticity because at its core there is futurity. The future is the potentiality that potentiates itself with its futurity: the future. The past has no such thing. The past tries to recede into its futurity but lacking a futurity, being the past, ceaselessly stumbles in the now. The past, without futurity, cannot make it past the now. At each one of its iterations, the past stumbles in the now; now that it is in the now, it seemingly recedes and becomes past (the past is a dimension of the now – it is ancillary and in arbitrary relation to the now). It takes time for the past to become now. Being Time in time, and being in the now that is now past, its Being, Being, drops its mode, the mode of Time, and accepts time without time: futurity, infinity.
The photograph is memory made tangible. It is what is and is no longer, a past without past; stuck in the now, the photograph is without time and timeless. The photograph is infinity printed on paper.
For the photograph to be a memory, it has to be remembered, remembered as such, that is, as a memory; one has to qualify the perceptive experience of looking at the photograph as a memory… in order for it to be remembered. Here, clearly, we are dealing with the form not the content of memory. Concerning oneself with the form of the act of remembering, disavowing all content within memory, the photograph finds itself caught in an endless iteration… in the now.
One hold one’s breath, and the eyes still see; breath rushes out, and out with it flow the words…
In the now, one assumes responsibility; I come to terms with the fact that the photograph was always there – within me.
‘The photographic’ is the recognition that my memory is the memory of the Other.
Every intention is an “intention to…” – and an “intended by….”
The 1st moment of ‘the photographic’: recognising that nothing is nothing
The 2nd moment of ‘the photographic’: recognising that it is now now
The 3rd moment of ‘the photographic’: recognising that the same is stated otherwise
The 4th moment of ‘the photographic’: recognising that the non-arbitrary mode of Being is Ethics, being, hence, otherwise than Being
The 5th moment of ‘the photographic’: recognising the world, as ‘the face’, anew as it now greets you back familiarily
Alterity is not a possibility made possible by anything possible. It is Alterity which, as first instance, calls forth all possibilities, even if it happens that all possibilities in their announcement get declared by self-testimony as being impossible. One of those (impossible?) possibilities happens to be Subjectivity, which, as first witness, witnesses – and in witnessing, incriminates itself.
Two. August 2021 at Braga, Portugal. Photograph by the author.
LOOMA. 2020. No title. [digital advertisement]. Ads of the World [online]. Available at: https://www.adsoftheworld.com/media/digital/mcpu_artofquarantine [last accessed 27 January 2022].