Saturday, 31 December 2011

"When you don't see it. It is still there."

I've been reading Ken Knabb's edited volume Situationist International Anthology and came across a paragraph that reminded me of something Iain Sinclair discussed in a series in The Guardian in 2009, called 'Hidden Britain'. Sinclair explains how it is only at the point of near extinction that some buildings become visible to us for the first time: “When you don't see it, it is still there. And when you do, it is on the point of disappearance.” I think this is philosophically interesting from the perspective of a kind of reverse subjective causality. This is what the Ivan Chtcheglov says in 'Formulary for a New Urbanism (1953)':

We know that an object that is not consciously noticed at the time of a first visit can, by its absence during subsequent visits, provoke an indefinable impression: as a result of this sighting backwards in time, the absence of the object becomes a presence one can feel.

Please note: I have included one of Claude Lorrain's paintings, above, because the preceding paragraph mentions him in the context of creating 'situations', and also because of the SI's interest in 'ruins'.

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