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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Infinity and Dreams, Hillmer and Borge

I saw the most beautiful photography exhibit recently by Karin Hillmer at the Silvermine Guild Arts Center in New Canaan, Connecticut.  The title of the show was "Infinity and Dreams" and it featured a series of photographs inspired by the work of Jorge Luis Borge, the famous South American writer who is credited with inventing the literature genre magical realism.  These crappy screen shots below don't do justice to the beauty and mystery and depth of these photographs but hopefully they will inspire you to click through to the artist's web site and see better reproductions of her many photographs.  Each photograph had a title that was written in lovely script on the mat of the originals.  And yes, the ink monkey always drinks every last thick black drop.

I was wondering how magical realism might be related to the fantasy genre whose invention is often credited to William Morris and found this  excerpt on wikipedia that explained it nicely:

"Prominent English-language fantasy writers have stated that "magic realism" is only another name for fantasy fiction. Gene Wolfe said, "magic realism is fantasy written by people who speak Spanish,",and Terry Pratchett said magic realism "is like a polite way of saying you write fantasy". However, Amaryll Beatrice Chanady distinguishes magical realist literature from fantasy literature ("the fantastic") based on differences between three shared dimensions: the use of antinomy (the simultaneous presence of two conflicting codes), the inclusion of events that cannot be integrated into a logical framework, and the use of authorial reticence. In fantasy, the presence of the supernatural code is perceived as problematic, something to which special attention is drawn, whereas in magical realism the presence of the supernatural is accepted. While in fantasy, authorial reticence creates a disturbing effect on the reader, it works to integrate the supernatural into the natural framework in magical realism. This integration is made possible in magical realism as the author presents the supernatural as being equally valid to the natural. There is no hierarchy expressed between the two codes. The ghost of Melquíades in Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude or the baby ghost in Toni Morrison's Beloved who visit or haunt the inhabitants of their previous residence are both presented by the narrator as ordinary occurrences; the reader, therefore, accepts the marvelous as normal and common."