“All memory is individual, unreproducible – it dies with each person. What is called collective memory is not a remembering but a stipulating: that this is important, and this is the story about how it happened, with the pictures that lock the story in our minds.”
― Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others
Memory is redundant: it repeats signs so that the city can begin to exist.
— Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino
I do not believe that loving (an other) is fully possible without sadness. I approach the loved other (l’autre [aimé]) always with this somber recognition: I cannot communicate with you, and even if I could tell you how I feel, it would be as if in a foreign language. Love is synonymous with sadness because it cannot ever be expressed, conveyed, or translated. If I do not face the loved one with this despair—of the abyss that stands between us—if, conversely, I am elated, spent, careless—I do not love.
| Jacqueline Winter Thomas
While working in Russia, Eva Zeisel was falsely accused of plotting to kill Stalin and spent 16 harsh months in prison, 12 of which she was kept in solitary confinement. The brutality of the experience would define her personally and professionally. 'You feel the difference first in the way you see colors,' she wrote of her time in prison. She was ultimately freed with no explanation.
What speaks to us, seemingly, is always the big event, the untoward, the extra-ordinary: the front-page splash, the banner headlines. Behind the event there is a scandal, a fissure, a danger, as if life reveals itself only by way of the spectacular, as if what speaks, what is significant, is always abnormal. [But] how should we take account of... what happens everyday and recurs everyday: the banal, the quotidian, the obvious, the common, the ordinary, the infra-ordinary, the background noise, the habitual?
| Georges Perec, Species of Spaces and Other Pieces
(…) to look at something is to fill your whole life with it, if only briefly.
∆ Ocean Vuong, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous
We are like sculptors, constantly carving out of others the image we long for, need, love or desire, often against reality, against their benefit, and always, in the end, a disappointment, because it does not fit them.
| Anais Nin
Last night I wept. I wept because the process by which I have become woman was painful. I wept because I was no longer a child with a child's blind faith. I wept because my eyes were opened to reality....I wept because I could not believe anymore and I love to believe. I can still love passionately without believing. That means I love humanly. I wept because I have lost my pain and I am not yet accustomed to its absence.
| Anaïs Nin, Henry and June: From "A Journal of Love": The Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin, 1931-1932
To photograph people is to violate them, by seeing them as they never see themselves, by having knowledge of them that they can never have; it turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed. Just as a camera is a sublimation of the gun, to photograph someone is a subliminal murder—a soft murder, appropriate to a sad, frightened time.