A Room Within a Room

Mar 9, 2011


I am in a room with lots of doors and no windows. I open a door (any door, it doesn't matter which one) and I see a long corridor with... more doors. I smile meaningfully and I walk calmly toward a new door. I turn the doorknob and I enter...

I love looking at things which are inside of things. It all depends of course on the choice of the medium: a painting within a painting, a movie within a movie, a story within a story, a dream within a dream. When I see something within something else I immediately get the illusion that it has energy in it, as if it became alive.

But I loved Narcissus because, as he lay on my banks and looked down at me, in the mirror of his eyes I saw ever my own beauty mirrored.” ~ Oscar Wilde

If I dyed the mane of a lion blue and presented it as art what would it happen? Animal protection organizations (and my conscience) would accuse me of animal cruelty (and poor taste). And they would be right. But if a character in a story dyes the mane of a lion blue, (s)he would be the one who would take the blame for ludicrously transparent judgment. All of a sudden (s)he becomes alive and taking blames! We forget that (s)he is someone else's creation. (Watching a forest in TV doesn't mean we have visited that forest. Looking at a chair as a process, a series of actions – designing, cutting wood, assembling the pieces, shipping to the stores, etc – doesn't make the chair a “natural premonition of realness”. The map is not the territory nor the menu is the meal. The way we focus our attention on something that it has fake energy is a subject of which we should get in on a future discussion.)


The best lies are those which are told with this method as two reversed, inside-out statements: Imagine that I show you two photographs, 'BEFORE' and 'AFTER'. 'BEFORE' shows a fat lady with a mole on her nose. 'AFTER' shows a gorgeous woman with pearl smile. Some people may believe it's the same woman in both photos and somehow, somewhere, she lost weight and removed that mole on her nose. On the other hand, the majority of people will think and believe that each photo shows two completely different women. But what if I reversed the execution? Let me explain.

I take a photo of a gorgeous woman with pearl smile and I mark it as 'BEFORE'. The gorgeous woman then uses prosthetics and a wrinkled raisin and disguises herself into a fat lady with a mole on her nose. I take a photo of her and mark it as 'AFTER'.

The first 'BEFORE' – 'AFTER' example was a lie, appearing as if it were showing the truth. A lie within the false truth leads nowhere. The second example was a lie (a gorgeous woman with pearl smile as something of the past which now does not exist – before) within another lie (a fat lady with a wrinkled raisin on her nose as a real mole which again, does not exist – after). A lie within a lie thus it has energy thus it becomes alive. So it must be true, right?


I walk toward the new room with lots of doors and no windows. I notice two walls of mirror, opposite to one another. I see infinite reflected images of myself. There is a note on the mirror written in crayon. I lean toward it and I read:

You think therefore you are (alive). What a joke! You think you are alive: You see around you others, so you get the impression you are a part of the whole. You call that, life. You see your life within the lives of others therefore you are alive. It must be true, right? Dear, you are merely in a room within a room, looking at the image of yourself withing the image of yourself...”

Xenios Theocharous