July 14, 2010

The World Theatre III - Glances

I like to watch. I like to look at the people. I look with eagerness and without embarrassment at those around me, those I come across on the street, those that sit at the table next to me in the restaurant, I look at those who share a waiting room, or a wagon with me. I guess that makes a Voyeur out of me. But thanks to watching and observing, I made some small discoveries about glances:

Image: Filomena Scalise /

Firstly, many women divert their eyes in an almost reflex action, if you are a man and they discover your look on them. I think, at the risk of sounding sexist, that this act addresses the fact that the look is in our society much more than sensing environment, it is a language. Traditionally, the more active role that man had to initiate contact with a woman had relegated women to a smaller field of initiatives and subtleties. I think one of them is: "I look at you, thus I am interested, come and say something to me." Therefore, in order to avoid a misleading game, an answer like "I come across with you and I look to avoid collision, but there is no interest" must be run with a very quick look the other way in less than does the flap of a fly. I suppose in my case "I look at a few seconds, with no shame" should be misconstrued as "I noticed about you, I would like to introduce myself" when it's actually "I noticed about you, because I notice about everybody.”

Another interesting case is that of the people who work with the public in a store or from a counter. I am amazed at the ability of some, amid the hustle and tasks, to glimpse that I am looking at them. They suddenly turn come and say, "Yes, sir?" No doubt another training mode that shows once again how important looks are. It's great how powerful and intense that effect is. Have you ever become aware, intuitively, of someone who was looking at you well in the distance? Somewhere in the brain there are a bunch of neurons that speak a parallel language, a visual one, and we learn that language at the pace of words.

Since there are so many looks as words.

Given that the visual vocabulary is so extensive, it involves the entire human attributes, good and bad. There are looks to intimidate, to frighten, to offend. No one should feel annoyed at a glance. I guess what I just said would require a profound rationale about the right to privacy and other social matters.

But consider this, we tend to think that he who looks is the active subject and is quite the opposite. Our little eyes are small baskets that collect light bouncing off everything around; the voyeur is but a small light beam sensor. It is the watched person, who, in an act of ignored generosity, throws his light openly in all directions, revealing his own forms and colors.

Do not you want to be watched? Stay with all the light that falls upon you and greedily become small and errant black holes. Or rather live it fully: Take my light! Here are the jets with my chiaroscuro and silhouettes, for everyone who loves them to pick-up, waiters or passers-by, before they are lost forever!

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Phototraps by Iván Cosos J.N.S.P.S. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.