Literary Wardrobe: How to be Both

“Art makes nothing happen in a way that makes something happen.”

Ali Smith’s How to be Both is a novel in two strands: the eyes and the camera. The strands offer a view of art, life, gender, love, language, and time through these two mediums.

Two characters, one’s past and one’s future intertwine in the present as they are unknowingly tethered to each other.

It was by chance that the copy I read began in the past, I could have just as likely picked up a copy that began in the modern day. But instead I was flung into a world that was slowly formed as poetry turned into prose. This was how my impression of the book was begun – and I ask myself how I would understand the book differently if I began at the other end.

The poetry and prose of this novel evoked a sense of the architecture of words: how they are formed and brought together to make a whole. A whole that is classic and refined, like Ouur‘s Autumn/Winter 2014 collection. And, like winter dressing, art is about the perfection of layers…

“It is like everything in layers. Things happen right at the front of the pictures and at the same time they continue happening, both separately and connectedly, behind, and behind that, and again behind that, like you can see, in perspective, for miles. Then there are the separate details… They’re all also happening on their own terms. The picture makes you look at both–the close-up happenings and the bigger picture.”

Ouur Collection can be found here

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