Tiefenwahrnehmung

The globe of fire casts a shadow of my figure on the wall.

The above interpretation betrays the limitation of my comprehension and is expressed with the understanding that I was the only one at that moment observing the shadow – or who could imagine what was behind it.

The following sentence is from Jungenderinnerungen eines alten Berliners (1878) by Felix Eberty, which, as the title indicates, are an old man’s memoirs of his youth:

Auf die Wand hatte Wilhelm Schadow, der nachherige Direktor der Düsseldorfer Akademie und meines Vaters Jungendfreund, demselben als Hochzeitsgeschenk die vier Jahreszeiten grau in grau und mit weißen Lichtern gehöht schön und plastisch gemalt, so daß es ein Relief zu sein schien.

I came upon this text through Franz Hessel, who, in a reproduction of his own, carefully details his experiences as Ein Flaneur in Berlin (orig. Spazieren in Berlin, 1929). This particular excerpt comes to us by way of his visit to an old woman, ostensibly to discuss interior design of years gone by. The chapter is entitled Ich Lerne (I learn).

From a desk and out of a trunk, the woman produces heirlooms: an antique English doll that had once belonged to an ancestress; likewise tiny plates and candles, which the progenitrix in her childhood used to play with in her family’s garden on the banks of the Spree; a bridal crown woven in green silk and flower-formed wire; and finally, her favorite book, the source of Eberty’s words now roughly translated:

On the wall, Wilhelm Schadow, subsequent director of the Düsseldorf Academy and my father’s childhood friend, had as a wedding present to the same painted the four seasons grey and drab and tinted with light tones so beautiful and vivid that it seemed to be a relief.

This recitation of the origin of an appearance, inserted between captured thoughts and feelings dredged up by relics and dedicated in a tribute to things past, is what I read this early morning after walking along the same stretch of flowing history. I was dumbfounded at the recollection of reminiscence within these memoirs told, and I imagined that like the mural itself, some memories conceal the time before the time remembered. And here we but begin to scratch the surface.

______

Kate and Hans are fond of lovely little trinkets and decorative walls; certainly not least of which would be the bridal crown for H and the tea set for K.

At the end of May we are taking MML to Malmö, Sweden, to participate in their workshop and performance festival to be composed of similarly minded overhead projectionists.

Imagine standing on a stage where your every gesture was turned upside down and backwards. So is the way of the overhead projector. Will the light reveal or conceal our marked transparency?


by Lord and Paice

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