warped visions

manuscript-day three of 100

Imagine an unspecified European traveller voyaging into an equally unspecified remote area, there coming into contact with the even more unspecified indigenous population. The society he visits lacks scripture, but pictorial representation is abound. With an instant camera the traveller takes pictures of the landscape, the village, and of his hosts.
    On presentation of the pictures the locals give to understand that they do not recognize anything. The visitor is flabbergasted, but after some explaining from his side, the villagers manage to recognize the to them familiar sceneries as represented. Time passes, the people are gathering more experience with photographies. In due course they are able to interprete all new pictures without any aid whatsoever.
    In reciprocity the traveller is shown clay vessels, over and over covered with paintings. The European only sees abstract geometric patterns, to him in no way related to the material environment. After some explanation work he manages to recognize the shape of an animal—strangely warped and twisted, like simultaneously looked upon from several vantage points. A number of pots later the drawings start to untangle before his eyes. Very much to the villagers’ joy, when looking at a pot he has never seen before, he now instantaneously can voice the correct interpretation of the picture thereupon.

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