Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Tales From the Down Under: #20- Peep Show

When being asked about the drawbacks of her budding career, Diane Arbus revealed a rather unsettling facet of her job as a photographer to get almost perversely intimate with the people in her shots. Having the reluctance to intrude upon others’ personal lives is just a euphemism for snooping too closely around them. An impish peep show turns into a grotesque freak show eventually, hence the harrowing effect of how Arbus’ works present. Both Rear Window and Blowup tackle the unexpected outcome of an initially random peeping. The antics in the movies are ubiquitously replicated still now, that whenever a curious george peeps, it is merely and ultimately a highly-entertaining murder he will seek out.

The abode I’m currently staying in offers a grand view which is fortunately not plagued by any buildings flanking by or protruding in front. For Monet he would probably look beyond to the infinity of the sky and marvel at its subtle vicissitudes; Munch, on the other hand, transfix his eyes on the ant-like hordes of fleshes lining up beside the bus stop and if this vignette was yet to impress his subnormal appetite, several wonders his imagination drew would add embellishments to the view. There is really nothing for me to peep about from where I’m standing. The view of Auckland seems bland, even dreadfully bland when washed over by inclemency.

I’ve done no peeping back home either, although the place is certainly a hub for the voyeurs. I owe it most to the ineluctable problem of the thinning of curiosity and human interaction when distance is no longer a hamper. I’m pretty sure that from the window in our kitchen an old man can be seen sitting on a chair casting before him a constant gaze. His immobility surprisingly does not serve as a fodder to my inquisitive eyes. His statuesque presence only reminds me of some illustration with a girl writing letters under a dim light. Yes, as it turns out that the dim light encompassing the old man is the one I only care about.

I read somewhere that someone claims the eye contact is the one that spawns the most intriguing communion and the safest lovemaking. A Greek tale I heard which still remains my favorite romance of all time: the tale of Achilles killing Penthesilea on the spot of falling in love with her through a mere mutual glance. I’m sceptical of the hackneyed theory of a love-hate relationship but a transportation from hate to love, I half-believe. Various folklores teach us a lot about that, of how destroying your enemy will inevitably lead to the consequence of your own perishment. Two of you burn together in a burning fire of passion, dusts and phoenix you will either become.

Another problem with the predilection of peeping is that the object of the peeper’s fixation always wears off its ostensible glamours in dribs and drabs. Too close inspection causes the mutilation to the object of your initially seething affection. It is often at that time you start to ponder about whether human beings are really all made by clay.

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