From Vestiges_03: Mimesis

“Art is not an imitation of nature but its metaphysical supplement, raised up beside it in order to overcome it.”


“An imitation, more imitation, imitation succeed imitations.”

—Gertrude Stein

A lie is the suggestion of a truth. Even truth, historically unreliable, is inherently made counterfeit—a misrepresentation—by its insistence and, more so removed, by our reliance, rehearsal, and inheritance of it. That is truth spent; beaten to death. De Saussure, Jakobson, and Baudrillard suggested (and insisted) this fact in linguistics. As did, of course, Benjamin in art and its aesthetic aura.

Art is a suggestion of life that resembles death by its traces. The semblance is many things: among them an indication, a tinge, or an image culled by an unlikely or stray association with a seemingly disparate object that gains, autonomously, attachment for reasons the image provides no evidence. Art, in this regard, must be something implied but never proven. Art is the wake of fact—the memorial awakens art—in which the consideration of truth becomes the fixed attention toward its immediate dismissal, the uncertainty of life felt by truth’s absence.

Reflect upon the frond and in so doing neglect the fern. Write its veins, the stains, its gloss; ponder with inaccuracy its divisive parts. Writing is autumn’s discoloration, the experience and expression of wilting. Only stems are left. Imitate and discover what’s not there any longer. Reflect if it was ever there at all, or, if it had been, if it was somehow refashioned by the consideration, the treatment, or the way it looked in a certain kind of temper. The writer of loss is a writer that wrests representations into wreckages: a writer trained on a single sun in a star-scattered night, a scrap of litter skimming atop an otherwise undisturbed lake, or a diagonal scar across an antique hope chest, writing their deprivations as fall reduces all to a wither.

A loss of fact (once supported by truth) looks a lot like a loss of meaning. Once in my reflection I found something hideous, but now in this abhorrence is something quite startling. My reflection no longer belongs to a frame but to a tint and tear of light, a likeness half shadowed. Meaning becomes the part of me missing.

—Jared Daniel Fagen
November 2017
Brooklyn/Arkville, New York

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