What Am I Reading: Richard Yasmine

Name of the book you are currently reading.

Richard Yasmin: At the moment I am strolling between the lines and condensed pages of four books that question at their cores, the same subject—of visuals, in specific, the ‘image’ in relation to art and memory. Each author has their own specific observations and approach in defining and exploring the subject. It is super fascinating.

The books are: In Front Of The Image; From Readable To Visible ; Gilles Deleuze And The Images (Gilles Deleuze And The Images)and Ways of Seeing.

Who are the authors?

Richard: The authors in order of the books mentioned are: Georges Didi-Huberman; Joseph Courtes; Gilles Deleuze and John Berger.

Front covers of Front Image; From Readable To Visible; Gilles Deleuze Et Les Images, and Ways Of Seeing Image: Courtesy of Richard Yasmine

What are the genres?

Richard: Essay, history, collection and criticism; culture and communications; Philosophy, film and theory; Art, architecture, photography and philosophy.

Do you judge a book by its cover?

Richard: I am a visual person, it is my dominant sense. I am truly inspired by sexy graphics; they are powerful and emote like no other creative medium can. Therefore, I am definitely attracted to book covers that are visually appealing, but that appeal is quite subjective. But when it comes to reading a book, sometimes you need to dig deeper and travel through the lines to explore what’s hidden within, and not just go by the cover art. The aesthetics take a backseat as soon as we dive into pages.

Not to sound too dramatic, but some books have become my best companion to rely on whenever I am upset, depressed, or lonely…I call it a remedy for my mind and soul.
–Richard Yasmine

Yasmine's best friends – his books and his cat Honey |  What Am I Reading: Richard Yasmine |  STIRworld

Yasmine’s best friends – his books and his cat Honey Image: Courtesy of Richard Yasmine

What made you pick them up? Can you highlight any notable aspects of the books’ design aesthetics, typography, images…

Richard: Okay, let me start by telling you a secret (or if you want let’s call it news)—this year I have decided to undertake a masters course that might open new doors in my career in the field of art and design. I started university to study “Art critiques and Curating”. During this semester, I have had multiple, wonderful opportunities to pick up a plethora of books and documents related to my course matter, to initiate diverse research in international art markets and in multiple contemporary art practices, such as paintings, installations, architecture, cinema , performance, and lots more. So these books that I picked were not because I was attracted to their covers, shapes or typography per se, they are subject matter, heavily subject-related. Art and conflicts in the societies, history and memory of art, how art acts as a medium of conversation for resistance, reconciliation and resilience, and so much more…

Your most favorite part(s) of them?

Richard: The favorite part of holding and reading a book for me, is the relationship that is generated between the inked papers and me, and subsequently, the bond I end up making with the novelist. Lastly, reincarnating the protagonist in my imagination is so stimulating in the case of fiction. When they are more philosophy and non-fiction oriented, like these are, there is so much to understand and learn. It’s an education.

Spines of the four books Yasmine is reading as course material for his Masters |  What Am I Reading: Richard Yasmine |  STIRworld

Spines of the four books Yasmine is reading as course material for his Masters Image: Courtesy of Richard Yasmine

Did you gain any insight or did they help you unwind?

Richard: Absolutely! Each book I am reading presently is improving my perspective, helping me gain new ones, and broadening my knowledge of different substances catering to life, art, philosophy and literature… Reading and understanding urge rethinking and questioning everything around us, to succeed in work and relationships, and inspire work. These have also increased my motivation, memory, and communication skills in a lot of ways. In addition, all this reading has also reduced my tension—not to sound too dramatic, but some books become my best companion to rely on whenever I am upset, depressed, or lonely…I call it a remedy for my mind and soul.

Yasmine's favorite pages from Gilles Deleuze Et Les Images (Gilles Deleuze And The Images) |  What Am I Reading: Richard Yasmine |  STIRworld

Yasmine’s favorite pages from Gilles Deleuze And The Images (Gilles Deleuze And The Images) Image: Courtesy of Richard Yasmine

Your favorite lines to quote from the books.

Richard: Oh, so many to put down. The guiding thread is the continuous relationship between our past and our present via images and memories, and how they influence our present by feeding the feelings we already have and shaping our perception of the present moment. Here are some quotes from the books I am reading:

“The origin is not just what happened once and will never happen again, it is just as well and even more exactly what at the present comes back to us as from very far away, touches us in the most intimate and such an insistent work of the return, but unpredictable, comes to deliver its sign or its symptom.” (From in front of the picture)

“Words and images are both, of the order of the visible, the readable as corresponding to the content is the “signified” besides the visible corresponds to the expression which is the “significant”. (From From Readable to Visible)

Yasmine perusing Ways of Seeing by John Berger (top);  and From Readable to Visible by Joseph Courtés (bottom) |  What Am I Reading: Richard Yasmine |  STIRworld

Yasmine perusing Ways of Seeing by John Berger (top); and From Readable to Visible by Joseph Courtés (bottom) Image: Courtesy of Richard Yasmine

“Consciousness is the third eye, the eye of the spirit… Clairvoyance, like reading, is always a perception of perception, a perception that does not grasp perception without also grasping its reverse side, imagination, memory or knowledge… we only read and we only see when we reach visions made of the coalescence between the virtual and the real.” (From Gilles Deleuze And The Images)

“We only see what we look at. To look is an act of choice…. We never look at just one thing, we are always looking at the relationship between things and ourselves. Our vision is continually active, continually moving, continually holding things in a circle around itself, constituting what is present to us as we are.” (From Ways Of Seeing)

At what time of the day do you read?

Richard: I read quite frequently late at night, right before bedtime. It disconnects me from daily pressure and helps me take off and relax in a fictional dreamland. Nevertheless, I also don’t have any specific time as I am preparing for my research and working on a long-listed bibliography, there is so much work to be done for college. Therefore, lately, I am trying to find time early in the morning as soon as I wake up, around 6 am. I sit down with a book, read while sipping my coffee, and it helps plan and boost my mindset and make me ready for the day.

The two essential things that come from cinema, in Deleuze's view, are movement and time, as written in Gilles Deleuze Et Les Images |  What Am I Reading: Richard Yasmine |  STIRworld

The two essential things that come from cinema, in Deleuze’s view, are movement and time, as written in Gilles Deleuze And The Images Image: Courtesy of Richard Yasmine

Hard books, e-books or audio/video books?

Richard: I am actually open to all the mentioned options. E-books are a great choice, and quite convenient to peruse while traveling or in between projects, meetings, breaks and meals. This can also include articles online such as on your platform on specific themes.

But nothing compares to the sensation of reading a physical copy, so my preference is definitely hard books or paperbacks. Just that tangible feeling, of holding it and getting comfortable on your sofa or bed, feeling the pages with your hand and turning them with your fingers, even how they smell so sublime. I also enjoy interacting with physical books when we can highlight or underline interesting quotes, writing down my own thoughts or notes beside the printed words.

Yasmine's coffee table with his current reads |  What Am I Reading: Richard Yasmine |  STIRworld

Yasmine’s coffee table with his current reads Image: Courtesy of Richard Yasmine

One book or book adaptation as a film that you always want to go back to, and why?

Richard: I have not yet found a book adaptation as a movie that was intense or moving enough. Plunging inside the written text to recreate its sceneries in our imaginations is incomparable. I feel way more poetic and enthused when we draw and paint the characters while the author gives them a meaningful soul with particular words… Nevertheless, I am in love with the master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock’s books and films.

Look up more such interesting reads from the series ‘What Am I Reading’ and watch out for more.

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