Schriftatlas II, 3b

I’ve no longer to make a language. I’ve no longer any language to make. All the basest elements have decamped into the humid din, retreated into a dense, recondite, impoverished cell. I am capable of saying only that which can be said, only, merely the sayable. The language of my birth recedes, and the language of my exile will not deign to arrive.

Yet neither, it would seem, shall vision redeem me. I do not see beyond, within, with, other, ever. I see only what presents itself (what makes itself present) to vision, to this complex of nerve and cell and blood and tissue that is the human eye. I do not see, for I only merely see.

Is it the camera, then, which truly sees? Does it see into, upon, around, behind, beside, despite? Or do I deceive myself by such fatuous hope, by such quaint techno-romanticism [bei solch einer pintoresquischen Technikumsromantik]. These snapshots, postcards, anonymous mementos, these trifles of emulsion, shadow, light: what do they see? How do they see what I merely see? (II, 3b)