Monday, October 13, 2008

parallel worlds in the mirror

what if, when we look in the mirror, we leave an imprint of ourselves there in the glass? a version of us that remains behind after we walk away. think of the infinite number of times you've looked in a mirror. the multitude of selves left behind. what are they doing? do we leave one behind every time we use the mirror, so the mirrors in my home, for example, are filled with hundreds of me. versions of me, one from every day, sometimes several times a day. do they have an entire existence over there in the mirror?

do my mirror self-portraits with the camera have a sort of doubling effect? think of the multiplicity of images. in the early days of photography, it was feared by some to capture the soul. i personally think the soul is more elusive than that. but, do mirrors and photos (which are a mirror of sorts) capture some fragment? something that remains. i don't have the sense of being less for losing those fragments of self, but i do wonder if they carry on parallel life over there in the mirror. a reality that, while different from the one i have here in the world that is not in the mirror, is a reality nonetheless.

how do those mirror selves fill their time? do they have entire lives going on beyond the glass? can they move beyond the confines of the mirror's frame? or do they wait there for you to return? i have this feeling that it's a bit like i think it is with my dream world--another life or lives going on over there entirely. because once you've left the fragment behind, you lose control of it. it separates and goes on to its own existence. you and yet not you.

is time the same over there in that mirror? or does it stand still--for example, the fragment of self you leave in a hotel room mirror, where you won't return to, do you age, or do you remain the age you left in that reflection? in your home mirrors, time must move at more or less the same speed as it does in this space, because there are so many new versions of you that you leave in those mirrors.

do you suppose it would be possible, if one were wearing the right lenses or was in the right frame of mind, to catch a glimpse of all of the people who have ever looked in that mirror? so the antique mirror we have in the hall would contain all of the people who looked in it before us and we would be shocked at how many people were there if we could just get our focus right and see them. i would really love to be able to do that, if only to see what they were wearing.

can you tell i'm reading murakami again? this time it's after dark.


Lynne said...

i loved this post... you set my mind on a spin. I tend to avoid mirrors (I think because I am still 20 somethihg in my head, so the reality is always a bit of a shocker) so my images will always be fleeting. You've made me curious about murakami too... sounds like my knod of reading matter.
And what an idea for a novel... the mirror images and the lives they lead. If I ever write it, I'll dedicate it to you!

Lynne said...

painting? what painting, I wondered. Then I realised that you'd posted a comment on my friend Leonie's page but somehow the comment was emailed to me. Totally strange. And yes, I agree, her art is gorgeous. And she's a great teacher too.
I'm at if you want to pop by!

julochka said...

i did accidentally leave it was b/c of the following thing on your profile...but i found you now! weird that you got the comment tho'!! very, very strange!

d smith kaich jones said...

Hmmm . . . the flippant me would like to say that well, wouldn't we be thinner if in fact, we were leaving bits & pieces of ourselves in mirrors, but the non-flippant me has this vision of a bit of me stuck behind in a motel mirror, unable to get out. I find that thought truly disconcerting - entrapment of any kind is my biggest fear. So I hope not. I hope we're bringing it all with us.

:) Debi

Janni said...

How do we know if we are really not the mirror image? Maybe we are the ones on the inside of the mirrror, waiting for the the real us looking back at us and when the do we are sometimes surprised how much they have agede or gained weight! It could also explain how sometimes two complete strangers meet and make friends - they simply glanced at the same mirror for a second and was connected for life...

julochka said...

debi--i don't think we're stuck there, i think there's a whole world inside those mirrors.

janni--that actually did cross my mind...the bit about THIS place being the inside of the mirror. you may onto something with the friends thing. it's either that or a chemical reaction. :-)

hele said...

When I was a child I read a story about a girl who got tricked by her mirror image to swap places and were trapped in the mirror as a result.

The author must have been reading murakami as well :)

I loved catching up on your posts. They make me feel like seeing more of Denmark.

And your photos are getting even more beautiful.