The thousands of mirrors that reflect me


Self Reflecting as a fortuneteller (according to my husband) on the tram in Sarajevo

For I do not exist: there exist but the thousands of mirrors that reflect me. With every acquaintance I make, the population of phantoms resembling me increases. Somewhere they live, somewhere they multiply. I alone do not exist. Vladimir Nabokov, The Eye

This is not solitude, ’tis but to hold

solo

To sit on rocks, to muse o’er flood and fell,
To slowly trace the forest’s shady scene,
Where things that own not man’s dominion dwell,
And mortal foot hath ne’er or rarely been;
To climb the trackless mountain all unseen,
With the wild flock that never needs a fold;
Alone o’er steeps and foaming falls to lean;
This is not solitude, ‘tis but to hold
Converse with Nature’s charms, and view her stores unrolled.

But midst the crowd, the hurry, the shock of men,
To hear, to see, to feel and to possess,
And roam alone, the world’s tired denizen,
With none who bless us, none whom we can bless;
Minions of splendour shrinking from distress!
None that, with kindred consciousness endued,
If we were not, would seem to smile the less
Of all the flattered, followed, sought and sued;
This is to be alone; this, this is solitude!

George Gordon Byron

Photo: Flying to Poznan, June 2016

Solitude

Reinterpreting – Marchesa Luisa Casati

Casati was born Luisa Adele Rosa Maria Amman on January 23, 1881

Determined to become a “living work of art”, she lived her life as a reaction to her horror of the mundane, crafting herself into an otherworldly creature whose image was her voice.

Christian Dior Spring 1998 Couture

An outsized personality, hers was a life lived in performance.

Christian Dior Spring 1998 Couture

She was in herself and in her creations an unforgettable spectacle, and although by the time of her demise she had ceased to live a gilded existence, her legacy was not about to fade away

Christian Dior Spring 1998 Couture

But life as performance seems to bear the ingredients of tragedy. As described by Jean Cocteau,

As soon as she came out of her dressing room, the Marquise Casati received the applause usually given to a famous tragedian at her entry to the stage. It remained to act the play. There was none. This was her tragedy.


Is it the common choice of those who don’t feel that they belong or are seen (or feel themselves to be) as inadequate to choose being the performance of self over being oneself?

Tilda Swinton by Paolo Roversi

Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety
William Shakespeare 

Anthony and Cleopatra

References

An Ode to the Singular Marchesa Luisa Casati

Anarchists of Style: Marchesa Luisa Casati

Marchesa Casati Goth, Glamorous and Wild 

http://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/spring-1998-couture/christian-dior