On Memories, Drawing, Truth, and David Foster Wallace

“What is drawing?” my high school TLE teacher once asked us.

“It is the combination of colors,” a classmate answered for the sake of class participation.

“It has shadows.”

“It depicts nature and life.”

“It shows emotions.” He nodded to some by-the-book tries, which sounded novel—not attempts on novelty—to the high-school Jona. I did not know the word “novelty” th.en

“But, basically,” he momentarily stopped to build suspense perhaps, “drawing is a combination of lines,” he continued. We wore the look of stupidity.

We blurted out rather vague concepts such as emotions and life with certainty yet overlooked such basic truth: a drawing is composed of lines.

Years later, I encountered David Foster Wallace‘s two fish who forgot what  water was. The similarities just hit me while writing this.

The most obvious, ubiquitous, important realities are often the ones that are the hardest to see and talk about. Stated as an English sentence, of course, this is just a banal platitude – but the fact is that, in the day-to-day trenches of adult existence, banal platitudes can have life-or-death importance.

It might be too pretentious to drag  such a big name here like DFW to introduce this series of line photographs found at Montebello Villa Hotel. Of course, he talked about a different set of truths—”the most real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us.”

I took it literally to suit my case: because lines are often unnoticed. Because the world is connected by tangible and intangible lines. That’s a truth I’m certain about.

For more line photographs, check: Montebello Villa Hotel: Its Lines

October 20, 2012

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