To see and to be seen. The eyes as objects of knowing and as searchlights of knowledge. I’m not encouraging you to rush out and buy Michel Serres’ aesthetically pleasing homage to eyes, published as “yeux” in his native French last year, and in English just a few days ago. This is one of those coffee table books whose shrink wrapping serves to protect its cover as well as to shield its contents.
Although one must always be cautious about judging a book by its cover, there is sheer artistic beauty in its contents. I’m admittedly partial to peacock feathers, adorning our living room with their eye spots.
From the publisher’s website About Eyes:
“Eyes pioneers a radical philosophy that interrogates ways of seeing, thinking and knowing. In this exploratory text, Michel Serres explores the capacities of eyes: how do we see? What is seeing, or being seen? Can we imagine the sight of non-human eyes, and how does this change our perception of the world and ourselves?
Produced in full colour, this visually stunning work creatively interweaves the writing with the images themselves resulting in a truly philosophical art book. In short poetic texts, Michel Serres invites us to enter rather than to leave Plato’s cave: in this space the visionary philosopher comes into his own, in the half-light of a ‘universe studded with eyes’.
We expend so much effort educating patients and the public about how much vision occurs beyond the eyes that we run the risk of overlooking the beauty and the processing that occurs within the eye itself. Serres reminds us why beauty is in the eye of the beholder.