Raphie Frank :: business artivist

Unlocked Bondage

kumbukumbu ya historia ya watumwa
kumbukumbu ya historia ya watumwa (Swahili: memory of the slaves), taken by Farl, Philippines)

That picture up there above gives a whole new meaning to the term “The ties that bind.” How about just replacing that aphorism with a phrase that cuts straight to the chase : “The chains that enslave”? Note the statue on the right? The chain is real, as is the sense of bondage, but there is no lock on it. The tension of the pull on the chain itself “serves” just as effectively to preclude movement.

Now. Think for just a moment. Who is “more” free? The slave on the left or the slave on the right? Wait before answering! It’s a bit of a trick question!

The woman (?) on the right can move neither forward nor backwards. She will suffocate. The man on the left, however, can simply take a step forward to free the woman.

So why does he not?

Well, what’s in it for him? She can just run away and leave him there all by himself! He may be AFRAID to be left alone, fearful of being taken advantage of, or maybe he too was once in a similar state and no one took that step for him.

The answer? Trust and faith and communication. She must ASK him to step forward or he must simply do so with hope and belief. And there is one more key to the puzzle. ACCOUNTABILITY.

This is the value of the “third” person in our little allegory. You and me and all of us. WE are the third eye and that is why photos such as this are so absolutely critical. We must show so that others can SEE. And we must speak so that others can HEAR. And we must ACT so that others may BELIEVE. To extend Hugo Ball, to be forgiven his merely three dimensional tendency — ball = sphere, after all…

The word and image and action are one.

As belly dancers are fond of conceptualizing it as they work their eternal bodies, we are nought but spheres of spirit moving through spheres of time…

Add in space to make it matter, and light to draw connections and you’ve Einstein, Jung and Hegel all. Pull the string to spin and curve it all around and you’ve got the triple spiral dialectic we call the Mind of God, the Celestial Dance, Islands in the Stream or the One Song called the Uni Verso called the Universe.

I say to that man on the left , “Step forward! I am free and I am watching. If you free her and she abandons you, I will be ready to show that picture also to the world. If she helps you, I will show that too so that others may have an example to follow.”

It’s not just that picture that matters. But what comes next… Observation, after all, changes the observed. Make no mistake. We learn from others’ inaction and silence far, far more than from their words and actions.


September 5, 2006 Posted by | Film, Philosophy, Photography, Politics, Storytelling | 3 Comments


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