Beauty is defined by absence, not presence

No wonder beauty ideals are so screwy. Upon contemplation, it is quite clear that beauty is more about absence than it is about presence: an absence of disturbances in the form of signs of idiosyncrasy, previous history, existing narrative, or what is often called ‘personality’. Objectifying beauty is that which allows projection of the viewer’s meaning onto the object, i.e. that which doesn’t disturb the process of projection by insisting on its own story.

I am thinking a lot about saturation as an alternative to the more common avoidance tactics. There seems to be a pervasive interest in reducing the complexity of not just the object of desire, but also the subject of control – as in the ‘Dark Google‘ scenario, where statistical analysis of very broad swathes of the population is applied to categorising us in reductionist terms.

Nothing but maddeningly complex data could give an adequately rich picture of what really goes on. We just returned from an interesting event: The Ten New Commandments at The Old Market. It was an enjoyable exploration of moral ambiguity.


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