people who resemble me from a certain point of view
Traveling on the subway , I often have an irresistible urge to compare myself with those sitting across from me. For a long time I used to believe that due to some kind of strange coincidence, these people always resembled me a little. Or not. Or maybe my attention was caught by how the resemblances differed. Or was it simply the spell of heightened attention that made me imagine this?
I feel I have never been so curious in my life. Even though it all happened very long ago, it's been more than twenty years since we first met. I remember it fairly clearly. The place, the weather, the lights, but especially the profane simplicity of how it happened. And my unpreparedeness when it happened. The acknowledgement, the recognition. That feeling elicited by my focused attention and my interest.
It all happened quite long ago, but I will never forget it. A young man got on the bus and stood right in front of me. He was exactly like me. What? Exactly like me? That's impossible. But still. His face? His movements? His clothes? His gestures? - But I don't even know him! That's just it. I don't know him, I'd never seen him before, or after, but I still say it was "me". Or at least someone exactly like me. Is that possible? Is there such a thing? Is there someone else like me? Was he really like me, or was it all in my mind? The lights? The cold weather? The foggy windows? Was it all of those things together? If it hadn't been winter but summer instead? If it hadn't been on the bus but.Even so?
Ever since I began collecting my selves I no longer look into mirrors. Although, sometimes I do. But only because it's unavoidable. I don't look at myself because I don't want the search to be tied to external qualities. It's all about a different kind of resemblance, like between relatives. Everyone has an image of himself, of what he must look like, whether he's ugly or beautiful, whether he looks happy or tired. I try to imagine what I have inside of me must look like. Which reminds me: I had an acquaintance who could tell, just by looking at someone, whether that person was happy or not. He was never wrong which - I think - is a magical feat.
I wonder how much these people actually resemble me, and how much it's only me wanting to resemble them? How much they resemble my real self, or how much they resemble only an ideal self? An image that I only wish was me?
When I was a child I used to believe that good-looking men all have beautiful wives. And that the ugly get only ugly ones. And I thought that's how it should be. Nowdays I see this in a slightly more nuanced way.
Sunny morning, transparent bliss. The cassette is rolling in the camera. Leipzig, the museum caf é. The resemblance is striking. He doesn't look like me (externally), but the way he's scribbling in his little notebook. incredible. I've been watching him for quite some time. I've recorded some five minutes already, I don't even need that much, but. I don't want to record more. That's enough. But I keep watching him. I'm becoming more and more interested. And in the meantime, I notice a surprising feeling creeping up on me. That's important to note. I'm being overcome by a really queasy, sickening feeling. It would be nice to know what that is. I started to acknowledge this feeling as I was watching the resemblance and becoming more and more involved in it. I don't understand it yet. I don't know. Should I be afraid of it?
I don't know. Am I really searching for myself? Not Something or Someone else? Sometimes I wasn't even searching, but I still found something. I don't know what, but I did find something, or at least that's what I thought. The illusion was complete and I belived it, so I guess we can say that it was real for me. Would such an illusion be enough now? Or is a much more scientific solution called for at this time? Going against the grain of authenticity? Because an art work is supposed to be created instead of a mere psychological test? But what is the difference, if any, between the two? Is there a way to express this? I wonder how many people got selected only because the shots I got of them were good, and I couldn't resist them because of that?
Today, for the first time, I tried to tape women too. And it didn't seem to work. I made a few shots and I wasn't sure. I never had that feeling before. With men, even while I was recording, I was able to decide whether they would work or not. Usually, I can tell from a distance which people I want to record. And when the cassette is rolling I already have a hunch if I'm going to use them or not. With women this doesn't seem to work either. On the contrary! When I start the camera, suddenly I'm unable to decide whether I find her interesting (from the point of view of the work), or whether I just like her. I wasn't expecting this to cause so much confusion. Still, I do have to record women. But then how should I do it? Should I start by drawing my own female image? But it's supposed to work in exactly the opposite way. Something is supposed to be revealed during the recording, I have to realize something during the selection itself.
If, for instance, I am short and brown-haired as a man, would I be short and brown-haired as a woman too? Not necessarily. And it gets even more complicated by this not being about external qualities at all. But much rather about a gaze, a gesture, a certain character, which are all independent of whether someone is short or tall. It's about different kinds of resemblances.
What kind of system do we use when we think of the world in which we must find a place for ourselves? Delineation by resemblances. To determine something that is otherwise indeterminable, based on circumstances. To run into yourself every minute. Is that possible? Why this urge to compare and identify?
According to a note I made many years ago, lacking an individual story, I live my life within the stories of others. Can this be true in terms of personality as well? Are there people amongst us who are not living their lives in their own skin? Lacking an individual image, could they be sporting some kind of collective image?
translation: Zsófia Bán