Auto Da Fe.

carskullTechnically this isn’t graffiti. In fact it’s not even art, although as Gilly Maddison has pointed out the question, What is art? is a thorny one that’s occupied artists and philosophers since at least the early 20th century although the term “art” could be applied to almost anything. How do you sort out what’s art and what isn’t? Well, there’s an art to it…

Anyway, what you see here is a trick of the light. The sun hit this car just right so it produced a projection that looks like—well, what does it look like to you? Remember that this is entirely subjective and a matter of opinion but if you said anything other than a skull then you’re wrong.

skullsSkulls have been a popular subject in art possibly as long as there has been art. The iconography of skulls is wide and varied although they usually represent death. Death has also long been a popular subject in art. As Spinal Tap’s manager Ian Faith said, “Death sells!” Death also smells which makes it even more baffling than Smell The Glove’s sales stank in spite of the all-black cover but that’s another story.

If you don’t see a skull please share what you think you see in the comments below. And if you do see a skull maybe it’s because it’s that time of year. October is the month of Halloween, a celebration that, even in some early pagan traditions, was considered a time when the division between the living and the dead was narrowed. It was, and still is, a time of transition. In the northern hemisphere it’s autumn, the time of harvest and the beginning of hibernation, a time of death.

So if you see death in that picture that’s understandable because this is a time of year when death is on many peoples’ minds. The disturbing thing is I took the picture in April. Why death was on my mind in the spring is, to paraphrase something said by Spinal Tap’s Nigel Tufnel, a mystery best left unsolved.

 

12 Comments

  1. Michelle

    I did initially think SKULLS! But looking at it again I think it looks like a highly magnified group of cells. Or three very VERY large grapes hanging upside down. Or… maybe a bunch of some other fruit which is already big.
    Well anyway perhaps I can see living things since down here we are moving through spring? Though it’s a bit of a stretch; it’s definitely skulls.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Now I’m seeing highly magnified cells too. Maybe it’s the Andromeda strain. Wait, that was a virus. Highly magnified cells can be quite terrifying, though. Not that it needs to be terrifying just because it’s now October. I do just find it quite beautiful that the sun shining through a car’s window happened to produce this extraordinary image.

      Reply
  2. Ann Koplow

    Skulls, death, and “too much fucking perspective.”

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I wish I could offer you a reggae or barbershop quartet version of “Heartbreak Hotel” to cheer you up. At least you’re not a drummer.

      Reply
  3. halfa1000miles

    A head on top of a pile of Fig Newtons, talking to a double head. Duh.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Oh great, now I’m craving Fig Newtons. A whole skull filled with Fig Newtons. That’s what I should give out to the kids on Halloween, that is if any kids come around. We never get any at our house.

      Reply
  4. Mila

    Alien heads. But that’s my go to excuse for a lot of things ‘because aliens.’

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I would say aliens were last week, but it’s always time for aliens.

      Reply
  5. Moonwatcher51

    A skull or an alien. Creepy. You were at the right place and the right time to capture that picture.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      It was truly luck. I happened to take an entirely different route to the bus that day and walked by the parking lot where that car was sitting. And at any other time of year it probably wouldn’t have happened because of the position of the sun.

      Reply
  6. mydangblog

    A skull definitely, but also a four-leaf clover. I can’t decide if I’m an optimist or a pessimist:-)

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      If you see a four-leaf clover then you must be in the Halloween spirit.

      Reply

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