Coach House Books, 2013
192 pages, B&W, digital
There are things beyond us, challenging our understanding and enduring as unfathomable mysteries.
In 1975, Martin Vaughn-James published The Cage, his "visual novel " in a succession of books that explore the natural notion of "if two pages (of comics), why not ten ?".
The Cage is characterized by the absence of characters. All human existence is suggested by the spaces and objects of sensorial disposition (as Seth shrewdly states in the introduction). Each page a panel, a window into corridors and landscapes that drain into each other. Spatially and temporaly self-referenciation, like a ball of string, whose beginning and end are hidden inside it.
The clinically drawn pictures are accompanied by an equally enigmatic text, commenting on what is observed and interpretating what is not. A self contained universe away from our reality.
Maybe Vaughn-James' cage is our reality , our mind or a description of time itself. Vaughn-James is a self-diagnosed orphan. The book has an independent life beyond its author and a hipotetical original inspiration.
My interpretation? The cage is the panel through which we see and explore the world inside the book and the discomfort and perplexity we take from reading it, brings it inside us.