InNoSense: a journey of love by Nick Langat

Updated: 21 Aug 2012

Time Out says

Rating: 4.5/5,
RM99 Moragod Publishing

This is a beautiful coffee table book, well-bound and weighty. The production values are high, underscoring that great pain was taken and care expended to realise this endeavour. But ‘InNoSense’ is more than just a collection of compelling photographs that captures one man’s ‘journey of love’ – with his love – across the globe. The book itself is an act of love: the physical manifestation. The images are occasionally accompanied by text (in prose and verse) that gives voice to the urge to merge: the melding of the Self with the Significant Other, whose fate we learn at the turn of the final page.

The order of the pictorial journey with the beloved (an innocent as suggested by the book’s title) begins in Argentina and concludes in Vietnam, with 46 other countries, including Malaysia, in between. Natural and artificial landscapes are beautifully captured to evoke emptiness. The kind which can only be erased by the rubbing of skin on skin. Whatever occasional human element there is in these pictures, almost always it is effaced. Buildings, statues, the vast sky, a blanket of green leaves or a blank wall dominates. As if to echo the internal spaces – the ‘emptiness, a great emptiness’ – of the heart which need to be filled by a ‘dear kindred soul’.

Beyond the landscapes, portraits. Almost always of young men. Each in a singular frame. Innocent Adam alone in the garden, longing for something complementary. Group shots are very rare, suggesting that notwithstanding this desire to ‘walk by your side’, life’s journey is more often than not undertaken alone. Especially ‘Since the beginning of a life/ I flee from nothing, from everything/ And especially from me to me.’ Then suddenly everything changes: ‘I have found it – What? – Eternity. It is the sun that blends with the sea.’

While the evocative prints pull the eyes and move the heart, the words don’t always resonate in appealing ways. For sure there’s a strong Romantic (with a capital ‘R’) impulse, where the expressions are driven by strong emotions. In this case, the inexplicable joy of being loved and the almost devastating sense of loss, which leads to a confrontation with existential questions and painful realisations. Like, ‘The unbearable is that nothing is unbearable.’ There’s an attempt to sublimate these conflicting but powerful emotions into art, but sometimes this verbal artifice surfaces as something indulgent. SH Lim


Tags: Books