July 16, 2009

Urban Gazes.

I've always been lured by the urban gaze. In a city, you are always watched. You are on a stage - everyone is. This is great for people like me who relish the spotlight. Audiences span from cafe sitters, to tourists, to neighbors, to mobs of people moving through a crowded street, to French women (who love to size others up with their pouty mouths and eyes), to bums, to tourists, to myself - because I am always on the gaze for great things, people, and performances (evidently).

Well, lately I've been paying attention to a different sort of gaze. The one from inanimate objects in Paris, which hover above so many doorways and adorn so many building facades and courtyards. I've always felt this gaze; Paris is a departure from any place I've known in this sense alone. All of these faces are watching you all the time. The surrealists had a theory about inanimate objects and their mystical qualities. To them, inanimate objects held a force - a presence - that affected people. The surrealists accorded real power to these objects.

Well, me too, all over the place in Paris. For the first time, I feel like the objects, the buildings, the remnants of past lives - affect how I live and perform. If you think I'm a little loony, just look at all these faces and imagine them staring down at you all the time.


Shelli said...

Many of your gazers have found their way into photos I've taken over the years, to the extent that on seeing them, I feel I'm seeing old friends. Thanks for the memories.

And by the way, the tree at the point of the Ile also has its place in my collection.


Jill said...

Seriously, they're everywhere. I wonder what they would say if they could talk?

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