Aperture: Inside the mirror, outside the window

Neslihan Koyuncu
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Thinking of words in their embodied forms beyond their figurative meanings produces a kinesis formed by charging and discharging the burdens of the word. While imagining to overcome the blockages and unravelings identified in the process of creation with apertures and holes, photography can be the mere instrument of kinesis that creates a breach between inside and outside by stretching the walls of the blocked channel and leading a leakage from that gap. 

I think of the multi-layered temporality of the photographic image it carries since its creation. The captured moment when the photograph was taken; each moment in which a surface of a projected, digital or printed photograph is viewed; the lonely waiting moments between the time it was taken and viewed, all moments that can be called a continuum in which the photograph itself resides have their own temporalities. In fact, these temporalities can be expanded and multiplied when they encounter different reflections. For instance, when eye contact with the photograph is broken, a memory image of the photograph remains in the mind of the viewer to whom the gaze belongs. And each time a photograph is remembered, its memory image is recalled, and this time the memory image burned into the mind can be transivated by interacting with the other forms in the memory. When it interacts with the temporalities of different moments in memory, the time in which the photograph reflects the viewer expands. 

In addition to the process of imaginative transformation that begins with eye contact with the photograph and continues in the mind, the state of waiting in which the photograph does not interact with any viewer also contains a latent transformation. A photograph to which a person establishes a relationship of authorship has a purpose of existence that, in the state of making, transcends its producer and becomes detached from the author. The photograph demands to be included in as many visual perceptual systems as possible in order to extend its temporality. It takes precautions by accumulating time against the possibility of remaining passive and blocked during the period when it is withdrawn from gazing eyes and waiting outside the system. As the time it accumulates fills up its own interior space, it overflows the extra time through the apertures it creates by stretching

March 2017

The mirror and window in these photographs propose to include a second look at the relationship between the photograph and the viewer. Just as the desire of a photograph to be included in the visual perceptual system, the mirror and window, with their motivation to show something, propose a spatiality other than their own frame. While the mirror renders the image of the person looking at it by reflecting the present, the window forms the other by dividing the space with the support of the wall, which also defines its boundaries and introduces a potential inside and outside to each other. Through the window, a hole arises in the middle of the wall, blocking the view and crossing, where the image of the Other presents itself to the viewer.

In the photograph of the mirror with its back to the wall, we cannot see the expected gaze that meets us when we stand before the object of the mirror. The gaze can only be perceived through the photo frame captured by the photographer. While there is a look at the mirror in the photograph, we cannot see the reflection of that glimpse in the mirror, which reflects presence. The image of the subject looking back is absent from the mirror reflection. We see a mirror looking at the space across the other side of the wall to which the subject's missing gaze is directed. The mirror demands its own willpower by not reflecting the gaze directed by the subject and allowing it to overflow into its interior space, just like the photograph's detaching itself from its author for realizing its own purpose of existence.

The mirror in the photograph, abandoned after the moment of the photo was taken, retreats into its own shells during the waiting period in which it lacks the viewer looking at the photograph. The time that accumulates as it retreats into its shells creates a repulsive force and forms an inward aperture between the space the mirror is looking at and the space it is in. Time now begins to overflow through that aperture, the accumulation gives its place to the movement. The mirror becomes its own subject, as if breath were exhaled into it through that aperture. 

While the mirror object, which in its reflection does not show time but presence, can only show time—as a form of trace—when it grows old and the colour of its film is lightened in its back, or with the dust that covers it when it has not been touched for a long time; when the mirror in the image is photographed without the reflection of the subject's gaze, it becomes capable of showing its own time without fraying with time like a mirror object. The photographed mirror shows its own gaze instead of the gaze of a subject looking at it; it shows time instead of presence. 

Even though the window showing the walls that border the garden—the inside on the outside—shows its own subjectivity by limiting the view with its frame, it has difficulty fulfilling its task of defining the outside and the inside. To the two spaces proposed with photographing—the space in which the photographer is located and the photographed space—is added the third space proposed with the frame boundaries of the photographed window. However, both sides that the window spares by dividing the space into two spaces are exterior spaces. The outside, which can be identified as long as the inside exists, becomes the outside of the outside rather than the other of the inside.

The window photograph, like the mirror photograph, has been waited for and abandoned by the gaze of the viewer. However, due to the spatial displacement caused by the absence of the inside in the dichotomy of inside and outside defined by the window dividing the space, the photograph begins to accumulate time in the other space shown through the window rather than in the space where the window is located. Just as it shifts the gaze from the wall to the space enclosed by the window—the outside of the outside it overflows time to there while waiting. The space shown through the window, which at the time photographed is the outside of the outside, becomes its own interior in the photograph. When time becomes more than it can carry and becomes full, it stretches out its inner vision and creates an aperture in order not to block. In this way, it brings together the interior of the photograph shown through the window with the exterior of the wall, activating the space in which the photographer is located at the moment of the photograph. The interior that the window captures and then shows in the photograph proposes a solution to the temporal blockage by reaching the exterior, and increases the capacity to reflect on a future open to relationships, as a psychoanalytic process aims to do.

(June 2020)