Monday, 21 July 2008

On The High Wire

I first heard about Philippe Petit, the high wire walker, when I read Paul Auster's The Red Notebook, in which is reprinted Auster's preface to Petit's 1997 book Traité du funambulisme.

I must have read The Red Notebook half a dozen times in my 20s. I haven't opened it for years, though I did just now to reread the Petit preface, from which comes this:
Each time we see a man walk on the wire, a part of us is up there with him. Unlike performances in the other arts, the experience of the high wire is direct, unmediated, simple, and it requires no explanation whatsoever. The art is the thing itself, a life in its most naked delineation. And if there is beauty in this, it is because of the beauty we feel inside ourselves.


WriterBee said...

Oh, my God! Thst looks amazing. I was spellbound just watching the clip. We use high wire walking so often as a metaphor, but to see it done at that height - obviously without a net - takes it to a new level.

farmdoc said...

Try as I have, I can't see the fun in funambulism. He's welcome to it. I wouldn't call it beauty and naked delineation - rather pure unadulterated naked terror. xx