Saturday, December 19, 2015

Turning Tricks on the Page

The words trompe l'oeil warn in advance of an intent to trickery, where the apparent and the real are under no obligation to portray fact.  The greater reality is artifice, manipulation, or illusion.  Troupe l'oeil constructs a false platform to support a simulacrum, a copy or representation of Reality, offered as though it were actual instead of representational truth. 


A defining element in trompes l'oeil, or tricks of the eye, is detail, which, by its representation, becomes the defining force of the illusion, thus an exaggerated or manipulated detail is made to suggest an entire outcome.  There is a word for this phenomena as well, the synecdoche, a figurative notion in which the part becomes the entire, or the entire becomes the part.  To a photographer, the word glass is a synecdoche for lens.  Give us this day our daily bread uses bread as a substitute for all of dietary input.

All story and much non-fictional narrative use the relationship between detail and reality as a platform onto which appear characters who, in their individual ways, are details meant to suggest a segment of Humanity.  

When we read story and, in a different sense, history, we are knowingly accepting the sophistry of one or more details becoming portals for a landscape to reality.  In this way, a reader who forms emotional and thematic bonding with a narrative accepts the worlds of troupe l'ceil and synecdoche.

In one form or several others, the storyteller, the actor, the musician, the photographer, the painter or renderer, the dancer, the sculptor, and the architect use art, craft, and empathy to transport the beholder(s) of their work into a heartfelt, earnest simulacrum from which the beholder experiences a more profound relationship to Reality and the potential for extended understanding of Reality.

In similar fashion, a term of relatively new coinage, "walking back," allows the sophistry-based opportunity for a temperamental conservative to explain, decode, or otherwise edit a statement made earlier as though it had the support of a reliable platform of fact.

Some examples of walking back:

1) I believed the intended humor was obvious and immediate.
2) At the time, opposing opinions did not seem persuasive.
3) My views were taken out of the context I intended and placed with deliberation in a context harmful to my stature.
4) We are all entitled to our opinions.

Walking back a statement, interpretation, or judgment takes on the meaning or making something offensive more palatable if not acceptable, more inclusive, so as to allow for an interpretation of greater truth.

All these terms emerge as tools to you in the same way paint brushes and tubes of pigment were to your late friend, Barnaby Conrad, whose work area and home were parking lots for trompes l'ceil, and yet another late pal, Digby Wolfe,  for whom a comprehensive rhyming dictionary became a tool.

Language is the key to the simulacrum of Reality; the aware practitioner sees the key as a means of gaining entry.  Once inside, he or she is on his or her own, must make thoughtful and deliberate choices for which details are allowed to remain as a foundation for the simulacrula to support the illusion meant to evoke rather than deceive.

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