004  pricklings / a p p e a r/ance / wonder spice

Appearance is the mode of virtuality coming-into-significance.
Interior and exterior worlds are made from images. The virtual is intimately implicated in the actualizing of the world. Its time of appearance is before language, it is the space of memory and forgetting. It is more than what happens via the screen, it is more than the articulation of the real in digital form.

Consider the beauty of a moment, the unfurling of something minute, impossible and designed purely to invoke wonder and the sensations of pleasure via first of all, vision. Lafcadio Hearn was in love with Japan. In this excerpt from "At the market of the dead" (1894) he is making his way to the temple through a narrow street lined with stalls selling ephemeral things for the pleasure of ghosts. "Beside the piles of these little boxes on the table are shallow dishes filled with clear water, in which extraordinarily thin flat shapes are floating - shapes of flowers, trees, birds, boats, men and women. Open a box, it costs only two cents. Inside, wrapped in tissue paper, are bundles of little pale sticks, like round match-sticks, with pink ends. Drop one into the water, it instantly unrolls and expands into the likeness of a lotus-flower. Another tranforms itself into a fish. A third becomes a boat. A fourth changes to an owl. A fifth becomes a tea-plant, covered with leaves and blossoms...So delicate are these things that, once immersed, you cannot handle them without breaking them. They are made of seaweed." (Hearn, 85)
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