Der Spiegel: Truth and Representation

Der Spiegel- The Mirror in German
Der Spiegel- The Mirror in German

Reading my professor’s book, I came across an interesting point- mirrors as non- passive objects of representation.

On one hand, the mirror reflects the truth.  The mirror is a medium of representation- through its reflective surface.   It is possibly the most accurate representation there is.  This reflecting is not passive, so much as it is fulfilling a function.

On another hand, the mirror is arguably a passive object that reveals the onlooker’s appearance to him/herself and allows the observer to look into his/her own eyes and see themself.  The surface is malleable, molding itself to the observer.  Interpretation is everything in this representation.  The onlooker does not simply see- but they see what is unique to them.  No other viewer gets the same view.

This form could be applied to African- American musical forms in relation to their contemporary social, political and cultural realities and phenomena.  I do see the limitations of this form as a template for an argument about African- American musical forms as modes of expression.  The mirror itself is not expressive- it is reflective.  The overlap lies in the role of interpretation.  The listener can infer a meaning from the music that is informed by his/her surrounding, and the events most immediate to him/her.

The musician could be cast as the mirror- maker.  In this sense, the artist is manipulating the representation, and the listener interprets it.  On another level, the musician is also the interpreter.  In Jazz forms, the original form is rearranged and interpreted by the artist.  Defying traditional notions of form, jazz codifies free expression in its adherence to free forms.  Jazz mirrors the artist and its audience.

The artist creates or interprets a pre- existing form.  The audience projects their interpretation and sees it.

It’s Friday.  I’m going to bed now.

1 Comment

  1. you’re too smart for your own good.

    Just a reminder:
    == Now we see but a poor reflection, as in a mirror ==

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