Authors say that writing sometimes writes itself, notably when their characters seem to speak out in their own voice. Visual artists claim a pristine silence for their own, which they prize, eye and hand alone together gladly, no words. The word that breaks that silence is often recriminatory, and resented. It came upon a scene uninvited, that should not have been witnessed. Words, they say, compromise sight, and the silent work of the eye.
Some of that is true enough. But for me writing is practice, without distinction between word and sight. I write my way to my work and I work my way to words, performing both tasks with one instrument, as if it has a front and back. The task hones both faces. They are both windows.
Artists don’t admit how often a word soothes and liberates a tangle that won’t undo, in which the eye finds no shape. The dichotomy of sight and word is real, but it is as much a terrain as a divide. It may be visited. When artists write on art, they travel between silence and sound. Coming from there, they would be translators here. Translators perhaps more than authors.
Translation reveals the subject, like an X-ray, or turning on a raking light. What is reportage, or critique, to discovery? To see more than I could see before? I am, no exaggeration, mad for that.