not a pretty picture. not a good. not a bad. picture. but an argument.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

being human, an investigation, new year 2014

what is there to learn?  and is there someone telling me?  or am i alone to determine what it is to be human? and can i learn?

this christmas season i traveled along indiana back roads and on those back roads i saw trees through blowing snow both being and nonbeing, wavering upon the threshold.

how i long to be solid like a tree. 

and how deliciously i too waver.

each new year it seems to be my new practice to try to touch this place of being through the naked body.

my body is as significant as a table or a window and as insignificant too.  where once i might have been shy, i realize now that there is nothing to be shy about.  i do not own this accidental body.  it has very little to do with me except to house that which i am for now.

these photographs are my new year's celebration.

i long to lay things upon the table.  and i long to throw open the window.

what is it to be human?  is there someone telling us or are we alone to determine?

what can we learn?

























33 comments:

  1. A wonderful And intense série. And the text is really beautiful

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    1. arnaud, thank you for receiving this with intensity))

      xo
      erin

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    1. glen, you have been with me so very long and i have not frightened you away yet:) i can only imagine that you are brave.

      significant? i don't know but i am glad for your feeling so.

      xo
      erin

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    1. dirk, these words (through translation) mean a great deal to me. i thank you.

      xo
      erin

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  4. What is it to be human, you asked? The back of your neck and the marks made by your socks above your ankles made me want to cry and then to celebrate our likeness/aliveness. I laugh with joy at your courage and the freedom you express with your nude body. You're such a brave, beautiful being, Erin. (I'm shivering for you, though, thinking you cold. LOL!) Happy New Year and keep on celebrating. xo

    "For last year's words belong to last year's language
    And next year's words await another voice.
    And to make an end is to make a beginning.
    ~T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding"

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    2. marion, i respond to you first as you say something that is so important to me in this series. you notice the marks from my socks. and this affects you. how deep this goes for me. how important.

      years ago i saw photographs of a more salacious nature. the photographs, while presenting many confrontations of the flesh, revealed the residual underwear marks on a fine woman's body. as you say, it "made me want to cry and then to celebrate our likeness/aliveness."

      for a moment i considered removing my socks an hour before:) but i did not want any distance at all between us. and remarkably you perceive this. remarkably.

      and i smile, yes, it was cold. these photographs were taken upstairs in our bedroom in our indiana farmhouse. it is very cold up there, often with ice forming thick enough to prevent us from seeing outdoors:) but this too was important, is important, discomfort. discomfort of all sorts is a kind of blaze upon our being here.

      you do know i would love to see photographs of you like this. i am a voyeur who can not help her nature. i would love to see each person revealed like this, to dare themselves, to put themselves in that place of discomfort and to thereby blaze themselves into a new kind of self awareness and being:)

      i love you for your bravery and i am grateful for your acceptance)))

      xo
      erin

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    3. If I can find some pics I took in my bikini days, I might mail them to you. For right now, my body and I aren't speaking to each other. LMAO!!! MENopause has us at odds. I'm a voyeur, too. If we could see everyone naked, the world would be laughing a helluva lot more, right? Love you, and I am very grateful for your acceptance, too. xo

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    4. i think there would be a steady undulation, marion, of laughing and weeping and then in response to that more laughing and weeping. and from that empathy and compassion and love.

      (i don't want your beautiful perfect then marion:) i want your beautiful and perfect now, menopause or not.))))

      xo
      erin

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  5. wow! beautiful! we are in sync with this state of mind. we are here inserted into individual termporal shells.

    wish i would have known you would be in Indiana. I live in South Bend, IN

    where and what woods did you choose to walk naked amidst?

    Gracias, mi amiga, for sharing yourself with such commitment

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    1. i'm not exactly sure about the idea of insertion, but certainly we agree on individual temporal shells.

      i laugh, i most decidedly had my clothes on in the woods. it was only in the bedroom that i was naked. (i imagine i was a few hours from where you are at. i like the south bend area very much. james lived near there when i met him. i'm so glad i was able to explore the woods and the dunes with him before he moved. but even had i been near you, nene, i'm afraid i am terribly anti-social. ask even my family. yesterday i hid in the hallway trembling because i thought i heard someone at the door until i realized it was only james moving upstairs.)

      xo
      erin

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  6. That solidity! Is not the solidity of a tree, is the solidity of a forest. I love this serie, is wonderful.





    esta

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    1. damaso, there is an alchemy in what you say. i want to bring back for you a video that speaks to the strangeness in counting a single tree and perceiving a forest, and the relationship between. i have to find this special video that was once sent to me by someone of alchemy, strangeness and catastrophic being. i smile. perhaps she'll see this and resend it to me:)

      xo
      erin

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  7. Your expressions are revelations of humanness. Always. These words and photographic expressions are no less powerful than anything, anywhere. Yes, we are simple beings, and also as complex as stones. You push my understanding into freshness, and I love you for it. Thank you. I, too, noticed the sock line, and the line of necklace. The gorgeous floor is a perfect backdrop for your soft body, and your soft but fierce spirit. This is a beautiful way to start the year, with Erin's humanness.

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    1. ruth, this is so interesting, both you and marion noticing (and stating) these two imperfections (how my necklace slipped around behind my neck and how i loved the world for the accident of this!) and you two the only women who have commented. although james was stricken by these features also, but i recognize in him a feminine quality i cherish. or perhaps it is accident that two women (and my husband) notice such infractions. i don't know but it is exceedingly interesting to me:)

      i love that floor:) and the light! ruth, the light of that room! there are two rooms upstairs. beneath the two rooms is an old house in many ways falling apart (or at least in today's standards) but on the light alone james and i would have bought that house, and in many regards did!

      but then i think back to the last house i owned, the one in canada, the one from my children's youngest years. it too was falling apart, more so even. and while that is about the right price range for me, decrepit, it was the light upon mounting the stairs that sold me on it. in that house the light was tea stained in the late afternoon. i knew the real estate agent then and i gasped and said upon seeing the light, "oh, we will buy it." and she hung her head mournfully and said, "oh erin." (this was the same woman who sold this house for me to two new people so different than me. they tore out all windows and in tiny energy efficient one to increase resale value.)

      but who might deny such light! consider the first two photographs, not because the photos are anything special, but because of the light through each window, left and right, how it is a body itself upon the floor, how it shines upon the under-leaf of the small table! when my body is in the corner there are two shadows! one stronger than the other depending on the time of day, one from the light source on the left and the other a consequence of that on the right. can you imagine! it is a holy place to breathe in. i love it very much.

      (james read to me from a story by kafka the other day. i'll post this next. the room is like the girl to me, as the snow was in the last post. it is remarkable that such intoxicating beauty exists. and yet it does. silently.)

      xo
      erin

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    2. On the Tram
      by Franz Kafka
      Translated by Willa and Edwin Muir

      I stand on the end platform of the tram and am completely unsure of my footing in this world, in this town, in my family. Not even casually could I indicate any claims that I might rightly advance in any direction. I have not even any defense to offer for standing on this platform, holding on to this strap, letting myself be carried along by this tram, nor for the people who give way to the tram or walk quietly along or stand gazing into shopwindows. Nobody asks me to put up a defense, indeed, but that is irrelevant.

      The tram approaches a stopping place and a girl takes up her position near the step, ready to alight. She is as distinct to me as if I had run my hands over her. She is dressed in black, the pleats of her skirt hang almost still, her blouse is tight and has a collar of white fine-meshed lace, her left hand is braced flat against the side of the tram, the umbrella in her right hand rests on the second top step. Her face is brown, her nose, slightly pinched at the sides, has a broad round tip. She has a lot of brown hair and stray little tendrils on the right temple. Her small ear is close-set, but since I am near her I can see the whole ridge of the whorl of her right ear and the shadow at the root of it.

      At that point I asked myself: How is it that she is not amazed at herself, that she keeps her lips closed and makes no such remark?

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  8. oh that such a space should exist! that such light should exist! that the marvel of the body exists! and yes, indeed, that one can inhabit such spaces and be touched by such light and yet not be amazed, utterly amazed at their existence, at one's being-with-them, being-with-the-world,not just in it? how is that possible?

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  9. and i think of Francesca Woodman too, and of Alix! i think that yes, maybe one needs a certain feminine sensitivity to be able to perceive the body within space within light within itself - in this manner...

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    1. and yet i think of you.

      it was your romantic palimpsest revisited which broke something old in me and allowed for something new to grow. i was immediately seduced by something so far beyond body ...

      and it was you who told me of alix and in this way held up a mirror for me to see myself, not to speak to any ability, but rather to speak to a sweet wound and a deep wonder))))

      it is an incredible room, roxana, humble, somehow right. but if you were to walk into it i believe the walls would be blown away from the shivering core.

      xo
      erin

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  10. I would love to that you will remember and you will find the video, all related to trees and forests excites me.
    a hug

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  11. ah! i nearly went mad trying to find this but aha! a video about how trees communicate. i hope you are able to understand it across the language divide:))))

    (video thanks to roxana)

    copy and paste:

    http://www.wakingtimes.com/2012/05/02/how-trees-communicate-video/

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    1. :-)

      and how we communicate, all of us here, across distance and time, that is magical also :-)

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  12. En réponse à ces sublimes photos, j'ai choisi pour vous, un poème de Jules Supervielle

    LE TEMPS D'UN PEU

    Que voulez-vous que je fasse du monde
    Puisque si tôt il me faudra partir.
    Le temps d'un peu saluer à la ronde,
    De regarder ce qui reste à finir
    Le temps de voir entrer une ou deux femmes
    Et leur jeunesse où nous ne serons pas
    Et c'est déjà l'affaire de nos âmes
    Le corps sera mort de son embarras.


    J'espère qu'il vous plaira.

    Je vous embrasse.

    Roger

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    1. i do like it, roger. this is my first Jules Supervielle poem and you've inspired me to seek out more of his work in translation.

      ... this curious relationship between body and soul ...

      xo
      erin

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    2. BUT roger, i have to come back. this is an incomplete comment on my part, not fully honest. the last two lines - i can translate them but understanding them eludes me, or rather i can understand them in two opposing ways and i fear that it is the flow of language that is stopping me. will you tell me what Supervielle proposes is the relationship between body and soul? and do you feel embarras is more rightly translated by the english word embarrass or burden? i feel it important to understand his intention as you've brought this poem to me)))

      xo
      erin

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    1. damaso, i'm so disappointed. i've tried to follow the video links to see if it might play somewhere else but every link is a dead end. i wonder why this video was pulled, but certainly this seems the case. :(

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  14. you are blessed because anyone can "read" you through your pictures showing your -so humane- body, through the fog that covers the snow, through the naked branches, even if you text nothing.
    transform your mirrors to vapors of water and take the eyes of someone who observs you to see the beauty of your existence.
    sincerely moved.

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    1. this is the kindest of gestures. for many days now i have been quiet with what you have said))))

      xo
      erin

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    2. I wish this quietness of yours is full of calmness. for many days now i have been thinking about the paranoid misery of individual interaction through internet, but I still remain grateful for this majestic selfelessness in moments like these.



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"Words at the limit of hearing, attributable to no one, received in the conch of the ear like dew by a leaf." (philippe jaccottet) or even a quiet presence is appreciated))