Inside Out

I am going to talk about poetry again because I have my poetry class on the same day that I do these readings and the discussions are fresh in my head. Today in class we talked about how far a writer can take a metaphor before losing their reader. My professor described the effect of unique and perplexing literary imagery as “turning the reader’s metaphysical being inside out”. This came up as we were reading Finding Something by Jack Gilbert. The opening line of the poem was puzzling the class: “I say moon is horses in the tempered dark, / because horse is the closest I can get to it”. We debated whether the language was adding to the emotional quality of the poem or if it was creating unnecessary mental strife in the reader’s head as they attempted to decipher it. Some were opposed—even if the image created was beautiful, the lack of logic in the line makes it incomprehensible and is mostly distracting. Others, a majority, found the line enjoyable—poetry doesn’t need to follow any physical logic, and the line certainly has an emotional and melodic appeal that works hand in hand with the strange syntax and objects in comparison.

In imagining the future with vision videos, the article by Kinsley discusses a balance between the “apparent and the anticipated”. It is argued that showing how a technology can actually function is important, because these visions of the future are “elongations” of the present, playing on what we already know, expect and have learned from observing other illustrated futures. Also quietly mentioned is the fact that not all questions are answered, that some “magical illusion” is present in these depictions of the future. We don’t know how the screens are capable of appearing on any surface, for example. I believe these unknowns, or unexplained bits, are as important as the believable stretching of existing technology. These future visions, if they are to provoke change, should extend what we currently know much further than we can imagine. In some ways we should answer the unstoppable urge to know how something works, but more importantly we should make an audience feel and act on that urge. A viewer of a vision video should ask how this is possible, and if they don’t know, they should be provoked to make it a reality. Our metaphysical being should turn inside out.


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