Jin Chien


We do not see light but see in it


Concerning our relationship with sight and sound in the modern day, British anthropologist Tim Ingold directs us towards a contemplation of light, as he writes:  

“We should not be fooled by art historians and other students of visual culture who write books about the history of seeing that are entirely about the contemplation of images. Their conceit is to imagine that the eyes are not so much organs of observation as instruments of playback, lodged in the image rather than the body of the observer. It is as though the eyes did our seeing for us, leaving us to (re)view the images they relay to our consciousness. For the active looking and watching that people do as they go about their business, visual theorists have substituted regimes of the 'scopic', defined and distinguished by the recording and playback functions of these allegorical eyes.

The scaping of things – that is, their surface conformation – is revealed to us thanks to their illumination. When we look around on a fine day, we see a landscape bathed in sunlight, not a lightscape. Likewise, listening to our surroundings, we do not hear a soundscape. For sound, I would argue, is not the object but the medium of our perception. It is what we hear in. Similarly, we do not see light but see in it.”

For the full text:https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/soundanth/work/ingold/
**Many thanks to Tokyo-based writer and musician Itaru Ouwan for the reference.



事物的景觀 - 即它們的表面構造 - 因光的照明而向我們揭示。當我們在美好的一天環顧四周時,我們看到的是一個沐浴在陽光下的景觀,而不是一場光景。同樣,當我們去聆聽周圍的環境,我們聽到的不是音景。聲音,我認為,不是對象,而是我們的感知媒介。我們在聲音中聆聽。同樣,我們觀看的不是光,而是在光裡觀看世界。」


Jin Chien

Writer, reporter, translator.

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