Space and time…

spiegelman-021

…or is it time and space?

I was struck by a phrase in this book of comics by Art Spiegelman, of Maus fame, that comics are time turned into space. Each panel in a strip represents a different moment in time, and they are spread out in space, on the page.  A really interesting idea.

What of film?  Time shown in the illusory space of a screen?

eat_the_bookThis brings me back to this image from an earlier post of mine about the tapistries in the Chateau d’Angers.  Here we see Saint John eating the book given him by the angel Gabriel.  But what is going on?  There are two books!  In fact, it is one book, one and the same.

In medieval art, it is common to see separate moments in time shown in the same space.  They didn’t have comics!  This, despite the beauty and sophistication of  their visual popular culture – think of all those Bible stories in stained glass!  The angel is shown handing him the book which he exhorts him to eat, and with the other hand, at a later moment, John is nibbling away at it.  Almost as if it were a modern multiple exposure photograph.  Or a flip-book that has been somehow frozen in time.

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