Wait until next year

Putting off what could be done tomorrow, today

Tag: sebald

Melencolia I

I think I first consciously encountered Albrecht Dürer’s etching when I entered an exhibition on the work and influences of the writer WG Sebald. I had initially struggled to find my way in, then encountered a iron-clad circular staircase that took me down from ground level, although at no time did it feel like I was going underground as such, the experience was still in some way vertiginous as with passing each floor I couldn’t tell where exactly I was, both above and below, neither here nor there. The exhibition was shrouded in a large, heavy curtain, which as I passed through led me to a small passageway with another large, heavy curtain mirroring the previous one. The room was empty but for a small etching, from which the exhibition took its name, and in many ways took its inspiration, for although it was very much a collection of work related to Sebald, all of it could be viewed from the starting point of Dürer’s etching of 1514. I thought the etching was too small, but then realised I was wrong, that having to strain forwards towards the image made me pay more attention, that my inclination with large works of art is to just step back and let it wash over me rather than really scrutinise what is in front of me. I attempted to absorb all the details, aware that while there were undoubtedly a numbers of signs and signifiers in the image most if not all of them were beyond my knowledge and understanding, that this was something I would probably have to decode at a later date. However, art that needs decoding, or that references a variety of touchpoints, seems the most satisfying, and certainly helps guarantee its own longevity. Maybe it is the game of it all. Maybe the accumulation of it all, the sum of the parts, enables us to understand something more – the whole, so to speak. There was a pleasant sadness as I stood there, as you might expect. I parted the next heavy curtain, and stepped in.

The wilderness of crowds

It has been a hot, difficult summer and only now can I feel the pressure begin to drop in the air. The darkening skies and the tentative rain are not foreboding, they signal respite from the season before. Autumn is already here for the meteorologists, and not far off for the astronomers. Read the rest of this entry »

Everything here is made from love and dedicated to memory

PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN OUTSIDE OF THE CLIFDEN STATIONWHILE MESSAGES WERE BEING SENT ACROSS TO CAPE RACE

In 2013 a blog post appeared from two former students of the writer W.G. Sebald. They had returned to their notes and had gathered a list of remarks and tips from their teacher. Read the rest of this entry »

The same thing

Blurred shadow of dirigible, zeppelin

I spend too much time looking at commons images. The images you can use and share without worrying about copyright or payment. They can improve a piece of writing and can sometimes offer an inspiration. They are generally one of the internet’s better rabbit holes, a glimpse into the past but also an alternate history, a motley collection of professional and amateur photography, strange illustrations from stranger books, carvings, engravings, lithographs, screengrabs. A world once there, a world gone, a world never known about.

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street/library

elevator buttons - "STREET" and "LIBRARY"

There is a library I visit which is in the bowels of a big corporate building. You have to go down several flights of stairs, or take the lift, to enter. Libraries feel like an escape from the real world at the best of times. Heading underground makes that escape feel even more pronounced. Then there are the books to take you even further away. I’m sure the library sitting under a temple of commerce and capitalism says something too, but I wonder if it might be a little too trite or tidy to point that out too explicitly. We can all make our own conclusions there. Read the rest of this entry »