On Traces

“The trace is the appearance of a nearness, however far removed the thing that left it behind may be.” (Walter Benjamin, AP, p. 447) Each retinal image should be understood as a photographic trace of the object in space and time, it is where a body in movement leaves a memory.

The profane shadow produces a latent un-fixed Image on the retina. It needs to be ‘developed’ before it can perceptually reveal its persistence.

As Ruskin noted: “the perception of solid form is entirely a matter of experience” (Sept 2014 blog) then the profane shadow is not fixed but latent, it can only be a succession of shapes over time that reveal their true perceptual persistence in a non-retinal form when we don’t look at them.

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