Oh, the rumpus! A picture can speak a thousand words, it seems, but what it says to each of us depends heavily on our culture.
Yesterday I wrote my take on Side View’s weekend theme: this week, it was a picture of a corridor which led away from the picture to a door at its vanishing point.
And it made me most uneasy.
Not so most of those who looked at that picture: for most, it was a benevolent place leading to mysterious – but jolly nice- outcomes.
Bemused, I showed Sidey’s picture to my husband Phil.
“Is that a friendly picture or a threatening one?” I asked him.
He was unequivocal. Threatening, he said, because it looked like one of our Victorian prisons or mental hospitals.
It is possible this is a British thing. An explosion of architecture which was stunning on the outside, controlling and threatening on the inside happened in the Victorian era.
In Britain we have seen too many of these cathedrals to the efficient Victorian handling of society’s problems. The great architects often had a hand in designing them, but the memories of my generation are of visiting someone there or chancing to encounter the places. We watched documentaries about the methods of treatment in the 1950s and shrank from the very images of the places they happened.
Unhappiness hung in the air.
However, in my quest for a set of happy corridors I trawled my picture libraries. I found picturesque ones, ancient ones, utilitarian ones, yes; but not a corridor which drew one simply to happiness.
Here’s the results of my trawl so far.