You try to see Myself…

What strikes me about Levinas is his constant intrusion into life itself, the daily life, to build an ethic enabling interpersonal communication where the visual is a major player in most םf the “play” but paradoxically leaving out a large part of what  appears before our eyes  into some dark invisible matter…

So ”you try to see myself” and I as a picture maker, try to see you but we both  disappear in that fog of “dark matter”.

Pseudo illustrations:

You see Myself

You see Myself

The rupture

The rupture

Rupture and Union

Rupture and Union

From another point of view, the view of a psychotherapist I quote:

“I was scared to death to see that first client. Who wouldn’t be? According to
Emmanuel Levinas, seeing one’s first client is not only a frightening idea, but an
impossible one. How do we see a client? How do we see anyone, for that matter? You
cannot see a client like you can see a movie, and you cannot have a client like you can
have a can of coke. The client—the Other—is not an object to be seen or had. The
Other, as Levinas argues, is much more than what can ever be seen, contained, or
grasped.”see here .

And finally I quote Assaf Romano {From the text “Portraits”  see here )

“In his book The Ethics of Visuality, Prof. Hagi Kenaan argues that “the face is testimony to the Other’s absolute alterity.”[4] Elsewhere, discussing Emmanuel Levinas’s thematization of the other’s humanism, he writes: “Why is it the face, for Levinas, that which reveals the radical alterity of the Other? […] Isn’t the human face precisely that which necessarily appears to the consciousness of a specific viewer […]? […] To begin with, the answer is a resounding ‘yes'; the face of the Other always appears within a social-cultural-political context, within certain conventions and taxonomic systems that are often tied to domination, the abuse of power, discrimination and injustice. […] This […] is precisely where Levinas’s critique begins. […] According to Levinas, the possibility of encountering the […] otherness of the Other […] demands a radical transformation of central aspects of the self […], in particular, a transformation in our characteristic ways of looking and seeing, of listening and hearing. […] Levinas writes that ‘This presence consists of in coming towards us, in making an entrance.'”[5]

Prof. Kenaan proposes to think about Levinas’s “face” as a sort of an event or occurrence deriving from the words face and facing: “The face’s unique presence does not derive, therefore, from its visual characteristic, but rather from its act of facing. The essence of the face lies, according to Levinas, in the very event of facing or addressing. Addressing whom? An ‘I’, an ego, a self.”[6] ” “

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And as a footnote:

As a  picture maker I am a chaotic visual artist… not thinking about Levinas… without planning… not rationalizing…. but aiming at something into the fog :

The Fog...

The Fog…

Levinas looking through a Window

Under the extrapolation of Levinas’s Ethic as optic and as a window on The Other, almost all of the visual arts can find a new meaning… :

“The Other (Autrui) who manifests himself in a face [dans le visage] as it were breaks through his own plastic essence, like a being who opens the window on which its own visage was already taking form [où sa figure pourtant se dessinait déjà].” See Film-Philosophy, 11.2 August 2007 Tarkovsky and Levinas: Cuts, Mirrors, Triangulations ,Dominic Michael Rainsford.

I am not sure if Levinas would approve such an extrapolation of his philosophy to the visual arts. But I Iike it because its a powerful trigger to invent new images.

Pseudo “illustrations”:

Levinas looking through a window

Levinas looking through a window

I look through a window

I look through a window

Levinas's Window

Levinas’s Window

 

 

 

The Gaze X Six

.I quote from a short review of Hagi Keenan’s book “The Ethics of Visuality: Levinas and the Contemporary Gaze”:

..”Our world is saturated with images. Images multiply around us, having reached the status of essentially reproducible commodities. Overwhelmed by this proliferation of visual stimuli, our gaze becomes increasingly bored and distracted. Do we ever really read and engage with images? Can they ever provide the sense of meaningfulness we crave? French philosopher Emmanuel Levinas confronted and subverted these questions.” (see here)..( Not an advertising)

(Click on the images to enlarge)

LVNS GAZE

LVNS GAZE

LVNS GAZE 77

LVNS GAZE 77

LVNS GAZE 22

LVNS GAZE 22

LVNS GAZE 55

LVNS GAZE 55

LVNS GAZE 33

LVNS GAZE 33

LVNS GAZE44

LVNS GAZE44

The Gaze X Six

The Gaze X Six

 

 

 

 

Levinas is looking…

To begin with, I am not a philosopher and probably never will be. But relying on the writings of Levinas (see here and here) who speaks of the “face” as a door closed to what is beyond or in his terminology the transcendental, is surely a mysterious fact or thought sparking my imagination as a visual artist when drawing portraits and people , perhaps in the same way as medieval artists did when painting the religiousness of their time.
.
From another direction but in the same vein of the Levinassian “face” and the “gaze” there is the book by Hagi Kenaan (  “The Ethics of VIsuality,  Levinas and the Contemporary Gaze”, see here)….
.
 …I quote from Catherine Chalier , “‘Hagi Kenaan questions the manner in which the Other’s face shows itself to us […} he analyses with finesse how the face subverts the primacy of consciousness. The face is a reminder of an alterity irreducible to the flow of images that tyrannically occupy our field of vision … To see a face is not to see a phenomenon, but to hear a call addressing me. It is in this difficult, paradoxical and eminently singular optics that ethics upholds itself. Ethics becomes an optics when the vulnerability of the face is perceived as a call for a conversion of the gaze.’ (see here in Review}.
(Catherine Chalier, Professor of Philosophy, University of Paris X – Nanterre)”.
.
Anyway, the convergence of many different aspects into a visual work is an intriguing affair, in particular the pixel as a crazy visualization of transcendence and absence.

,

Transcendance

Transcendance

Trancendence 2

Trancendence 2

TRANSCENDENCE33

TRANSCENDENCE33

Before Transcendence

Before Transcendence

Absence as Trancendence

Absence as Trancendence