“If I have included visibility in my list of values to be saved, it is to give warning of the danger we run in losing a basic human faculty: the power of bringing visions into focus with our eyes shut, of bringing forth forms and colors from the lines of black letters on a white page, and in fact of thinking in terms of images.” – Italo Calvino
The quote above is from Italo Calvino’s book, “Six Memos for the New Millennium“. This quote shows Calvino’s passion in respect to this specific quality. In his other memos, Calvino mentions the importance of using the qualities as a guideline for one’s literary works, but when discussing the quality visibility, Calvino seems to be concerned that we are losing this quality. He explains his concern about the loss of such an important aspect of aesthetics. Aside from just his concern with the loss of thinking in images, Calvino also expresses his worry for the change from people thinking of original images to people thinking of others’ images and replicating.
Calvino expresses visibility in relation to imagination. He believes that imagination has two processes: the process by which the words on a page can guide a reader to create the image being discussed and the process of an image giving a person the sensation of verbal expression. Although Calvino is and has been highly regarded for many years, not everyone agreed with his thought process of imagination. Dante the poet wrote about Dante the character in “Divine Comedy” as having his images “rain down” from the heavens into his mind. Dante didn’t even wait for the images to fully form. He discussed how they came in time and became clearer as time went on.
Calvino looks to relate visibility to en emblem. He mentions how italian comics convey the power of visibility. At the time, comics had yet to develop the word bubbles that we are accustomed to here in America. This left it all up to the image to convey the thought the author was looking to get across.
Visibility leads my mind to think about one of my favorite books of all time, Patrick D. Smith’s “A Land Remembered“. The story follows the generations of a family that looks to start off a career in cow herding in the early years of Florida’s development. Smith does an incredible job at conveying the beautiful natural scenery of old Florida. Being a life-long Floridian, I can truly appreciate the beauty he discusses that we have lost over the years. Smith is able to use “lines of black letters on a white page” in order to convey an absolutely beautiful scene that the reader can vividly see in their mind.