so everybody knows Magritte's "The Treachery of Images". its a painting of a smoking pipe with a line under it reading (in french) "this is not a pipe." ooooo snap, those french, very deep.
but watch this. what if you went out (like i'm about to) and got a metal pipe, you know, not the kind you smoke but the kind plumbers fix, and had the phrase "this is not a pipe" cut into the pipe, preferably in cool army style block letters?
let me explain why this is profound. first, given that it's based on an allusion to Magritte's work, you can take 'pipe' to mean 'smoking pipe' and see that the message is telling the truth--it really isn't a pipe (at least, not that kind of pipe. tee hee!). second, the pipe has letters cut into it. a bunch of holes. so the pipe can't fulfill its proper function, its purpose for existing. so why even consider it a pipe? again, the message on it is telling the truth--but here it's only thanks to the fact of the message being cut into it. i.e., it would be a pipe if "this is not a pipe" wasn't etched onto it, screwing over its whole ability to function as a pipe. and so on.
so Magritte showed why images are treacherous (it's not a pipe itself, its a just a picture of a pipe). what does my cool metal pipe trick show? nothing. but in a way, maybe it lends evidence to Magritte's thesis--my 3D metal pipe doesn't lie like images do. but does its truthfulness have anything to do with its being an object, or is it just the message's own existence (ie, the "this is not a pipe" phrase cut into the pipe) that makes it true? i mean, we've learned about how honest images are and how honest objects are, but what about words? how do they fit in? and how treacherous is a painting that has a convenient warning at the bottom, anyway? the potential for ridiculous questions is clearly infinite.
and what the hell would i title this glorious non-pipe object?