Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Everyone is talking, they're saying, "Hey, where's my nose?"

These are preserved bodies whose preservatives aren't holding up. Much trouble (though not enough) has gone into keeping them recognizable. I think it's interesting that they so maintain their dignity, because the bulk of the form is there, the expression. Form is responsible for empathetic response, to the core. Facial expression is form, so is body language, so is the body itself, the shape of it. We create memories of animation for animals that are literally crumbling, turning to dust. We recreate their prowess in deterioration. We know about their majesty. We still insist on recognizing them.

They are far from life, not allowed to decompose and be consumed, and not quite literal representations of themselves, but they exist for us nonetheless. They're like faded and torn old photos, the edges rubbed off, that bring you right against the face of your great-grandfather. With his deep smile lines.