Dreaming: An Unframed State
Literary bases online
the way we see the world, our vision
…all framed in a way that effect the way we perceive our surroundings. Graphic novels such as Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis have obvious frames. The gutters between the frames in a graphic novel create a ‘pause’ between images and the words, and in turn in our perception. In Satrapi’s graphic novel the gutters have a meaning. They are meant to represent the ‘in-between the line’ state, as it is seen on the first page of the first chapter. The heading ‘The Veil’ is accompanied by an eye that is directly above the first gutter.
To me this symbolizes the significance of the gutter. Satrapi could be telling the readers of the graphic novel to read between the lines of what she is portraying with the images and words throughout the read. With her graphic novel, Satrapi has created frames smaller and more frequent than exists in a book without such literal frames surrounding the text. In a similar way, however, texts that are online such as the stories of the Thousand and One Arabian Nights are framed as well. However, rather than gutters that are visible between the text the frame is created by the constant clicking in order to advance to the next page. The breaks within the text are not as visible, but they are there and they have boundaries.
Every time I read a book, a physical book with the pages bound together, there’s a short pause while I turn a page. A pause, a break, something in between two pages that create a moment of nothing. A time for my mind to rest maybe? Or to think further… A book in itself is so symbolic of the boundaries that are created by the frames that seem to exist in all of these works.
The physical binding of the pages, the feeling of looking at a book from cover to cover, it’s as if the text in the book is trapped, or it belongs within the covers and no-where else. I enter the book by crossing a boundary, just as if I were crossing a boundary by stepping over a literal line. I enter a world framed by the author, a break after every page. I finally exit the creation by crossing the boundary at the end.
I’m watching a movie and it all seems so real. The characters, the setting, as if
I am there seeing it through my own eyes. I follow the movement of the camera as it
shows me all there is, or at least it feels like it. Does a stream of a movie show more than
a picture in a graphic novel? The making of a movie involves strips of film attached to
each other in order to create the movement in movies. However, though the final
product is moving, just as the graphic novel, the filmstrips have gutters between
each frame. Even while I watch a movie, if I pay attention, there are moments
of emptiness, of a plain black screen.
Then I move into my reality, my eyes, my vision, and my literal perception of my surroundings. I blink…
then I’m back. I can see again, but is what just happened to me any different than the momentary blankness in a movie, or the gutter in a graphic novel, or the turning of a page of a book? A blink of an eye and I can miss something in life.
What about dreaming? My eyes are closed and my brain is open enough for my unconscious to come out. The deepest, darkest thoughts and feelings I have are coming out and appearing in my mind. I’m not even completely aware of the existence of these visions. Memories that I have forgotten, fears that I am not aware of, desires that are concealed, unconscious habits and more… They are in my dreams, in the part of my mind that my awakened state doesn’t perceive. It’s a different level of perception, one without gutters, maybe? Or without borders?
Boundaries create a moment of emptiness, a moment of time or place that takes a break from what is being perceived. Instead a full blown gathering of information, its little snippets, bit’s and pieces of a surrounding world, a text, a series of pictures. Not the entirety of something. In dreams, the brain, the mind, the vision open up and boundaries disappear. Could be the reason why so much more of the unconscious is represented in the sleeping dream, rather than in the awakened state.