Paper View

September 17th, 2010 | Posted by Tamarin Norwood

The person at 298b has only a very small window offering almost no view at all: just the top of a brick wall and a few inches of sky. This is inadequate. At times he feels like staring into the plotless scrolling of people and things you get through proper windows, but there’s nothing to see. The view’s blank.

So at times like these he’s started building the view himself. He’s mainly been using paper: three dimensional models of trees and rooftops glued together, outlines of clouds stuck straight onto the glass, stick people below with shopping bags and kites and mates. Sometimes a paper church in the distance, sometimes a parade of shops trooping across the glass, sometimes lightning or fireworks in felt tip. He’s framed the view with a foreground of very detailed leaves of a larger scale and with veins pencilled on, some of them fixed to lengths of wire he frequently rearranges. There are occasionally paper birds on the wires.Sometimes he gets the leaves to rustle.

He’s been building the view for just over a year now, and it’s some months since the last scrap of natural light made it through the glass into the room. Building doesn’t always mean adding bits – he takes bits away too, rearranges bits, colours bits in, rubs bits out – but it’s never enough just to watch it, static, as he last left it. Since the model won’t change on its own like a real view, if he wants to stare into plotless narratives he has to make do with watching the operations of his own mind as they form before him in paper and glue and wire. His paper view is looking turned inside-out: sight that produces rather than absorbs, watching itself into being.

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