On the day of your birth she split herself in half to fetch you.
Her body, firmly rooted in the ground, summoned you loudly, steadily, pausing after each cry to give her voice time to reach you.
Her spirit floated to the sacred edges of your world to meet you. Instinctively, you both knew that you were destined to make the crossing together, even if you weren’t sure which direction it would take.
Neither of you spoke.
Remember how the hospital room seemed so quiet from the space you occupied? Dusky and hazy? And how your father, the midwife, and the doctor looked like watchful apparitions, defined by amorphous boundaries, every now and then blending together and separating?
Your parents’ friend was capturing the event on video. She marked every passing hour with the changing of a tape. Out with the full, in with the empty. Ten times. When the top of your head made its first appearance, her last tape reached its end.
Your entrance was claimed by the spirits.
You were surrounded by a world of thoughts and images that you captured and molded with your imagination.
Every day images of war, through the media, try to penetrate our reality. These images freeze before touching our reality, leaving a wretched ghost of pain to haunt us. It is this haunted look […] that I have tried to catch with the dolls’ eyes. This look hosts different feelings like fear or revolt, despair or denial, compassion or immunity. The beauty of the dolls and the violence reflected in their eyes capture the invisible wall which separates the co-existence of these two worlds.
Multimedia artist Lydia Venieri on her 2009 exhibition of digital photographs titled “See No Evil.”
The boundary between you and the world felt uncomfortably porous.
You were strengthened. Weakened. Augmented. Diminished.
You sat on the airplane next to a good friend. You were telling her about your childhood. She was more attentive than you were used to, looking straight into your eyes. When you mentioned your trauma, you turned your gaze out the window, over the amorphous clouds that blended together and separated. The conversation stopped.
What would have happened if you hadn’t cut away, made this edit?
You chose to review your life on video. You didn’t erase anything or anyone. You slow-motioned the segments that had gone by too fast. You examined them carefully. You zoomed in on people you had held in the periphery of your consciousness. The more time you took to study their faces, the more connections you saw between them and you. Everyone began to blend together. Everything began to blend together. Into a coherent whole.
An empty space that’s always full.