The Eye Deal

The Eye Deal 1997

6.30 min. sound colour PAL

An image of the soul.

Physiognomics was body criticism. Symptoms, or marks visible to ordinary laymen, were converted into esoteric graphic signs. These physical enigmas were indicative of hidden causes legible only to specialized interpreters. The master eighteen-century (1741-1801) physiognomist, Lavater, noted that men form conjectures ” by reasoning from the exterior to the interior.”  He continued: “What is universal nature but physiognomy. Is not everything surface and contents? Body and soul? External effect and internal faculty? Invisible principle and visible end?”

Anatomia was a woman flaying a suspended male figure. She was also the mistress of erotic reduction – a fantasy expression of male surrender – whose chief attribute was the power to divide. Anatomias origin were doubled; Apollo – the god of clear sight and Hermes, the god of interpretation and healing. Apollo is the flayer of Marsyas after the latter had lost a flute-playing contest. Hermes splitted open the head of Zeus to release Athene. Zeus: “I will cut each of them in two.”

Ovidius tells us that Marsyas uttered: “Quid me mihi detrahis” – “Who is it that tears me from myself?”. Through torture Marsyas is turned into an object of art. This is a tale of separation and origin and the violence in the act of creation. Marsyas is “transformed into one whole wound”.