a letter from an uncle
On looking at it, I feel no frisson. No excitement. No real interest. It no longer works for me even as the illustration of an illusion or of a failure of interpretation. It may be of interest to a specialist in perception, but I receive it the way I would receive any other trailer for a movie or TV advert for a product.
When I say this, of course, it’s because I’m interested in how popular fantasy propels or catalyses our increasingly saturated intimacy with the absurd and illusory. While I have no difficulty reading out “floating bin” from the picture, and indeed have lost all surprise at the absurdity of images like this, it remains a picture and I have no interest whatsoever in the “possibility” of a floating bin. I thought perhaps I should make that clear, in case anyone mistook the content of the particular photograph for the subject matter here.
I’d also like to say that my father’s brother was called Don.
Don wrote to me once when I was quite young, a nice letter full of news. I looked at the signature and was filled with delight. I couldn’t quite understand why Dan Dare would write to me, or why my hero, a fictional space pilot, would send me news from a town just up the A5 in a tone of such familiarity. “Your Uncle Dan”! The facts percolated through to me across that morning at school, reluctantly you would say, but as if I’d known them all along. Until I could no longer avoid acknowledging them, it was the most exciting day of my life.