Tag Archives: signifier

How to vanish into thin air

I once crossed paths with a most peculiar woman at a gathering. I can’t really tell what she was, but she had the look of a gypsy witch shaman. With her she had an apprentice and a helper. I never spoke directly with her, but I did get the chance to study her.

As I did so I saw her vanish into thin air and then she would reappear somewhere else entirely. Her vanishing would go fast, as the blink of an eye. It was really strange and it took me a long time to understand how she did it. This is how.

We all usually have signifiers in our appearance, things that make us stand out. It can be our big red hair, a special scarf, odd sneakers, colourful details on our clothing or a way of walking. Often we have several such signifiers. When we look for someone in a crowd we are actually looking for their signifiers and if we can’t find their signifiers we assume they are not there.

The woman I was watching was both skilful and clever. Her outfit had several signifiers that were easy to notice, but what I came to understand was that they were also easy to hide. With a few quick moves she would cover her signifiers, assume another body posture, a little limp and as it would appear – vanish into thin air.

Photo: HOLI – THE FESTIVAL OF COLOURS by Diganta Talukdar on Flickr

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