On touche avec les yeux

On touche avec les yeux

What is described as ‘passivity’ actually involves a discrete action: looking at a fixed point of the room. This fixed point keeps the body in place. To perform his task perfectly, the model induces in himself a state of fascination for the thing he observes, and so he will stay completely motionless.

I grew attached to certain fragments of the academies where I modelled, textures of the wall, of the ground, of their usual paraphernalia. It was there that I anchored my gaze. And as my gaze kept my body in place, the things I looked at became part of my self-image. To sit still I incorporate a sight.

In some situations, looking stops involving distance. Saint Augustine imagined that children looked like their fathers because they were the ones that their mothers had observed during the sexual act—a moment of malleability allowing a sight to turn into flesh:

“One may see the little body of the chameleon vary with ready change according to the colour that it sees. And in the case of the other animals, since their grossness of flesh does not easily admit change, the offspring, for the most part, betray the particular fancies of the mothers, whatever it is that they have beheld with special delight.”

2023
Florence Marceau-Lafleur

Florence Marceau-Lafleur

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