22 November 2011


For everything that we perceive, there lays hidden a a mysterious shadow nothing. Explorers of olde actually feared this nothing, they feared that they would fall into a void if they sailed off the map, or get consumed by it (like Fantasia in The Never-Ending Story). Yet, in the modern mapping era not much thought is given to nothing - or to put it simply; we're obsessed with stuff.  Some have alluded to this concept with their cut-out maps but they only half succeed - they still map something to demonstrate the nothing. Even I foolishly attempted to create a map of pure nothing to show you (see left), but i failed miserably - I confused white-space with void! There are after all; electrons, ones and zeros and your perceptions. Allow me to illustrate the conundrum further; the respected composer John Cage once famously sat at his piano on a stage in front of a packed auditorium for four minutes & thirty three seconds without a playing a sound - he attempted to portray nothing, in effect though he wasn't playing nothing - the compositional piece became the sounds of the audience shuffling in their seats, murmuring low and coughing anxiously. The map of nothing is an elusive prey, but if you train your mind you may just catch a glimpse - or in the words of Samuel Beckett: "White planes no trace shining white one only shining white infinite but that known not, always there but that known not."

1 comment:

  1. Is nothing 'nothing' in relation to something (or, the absence of something)? Otherwise does it become its own something?

    As any Drummer or Bass player knows, the bits that you don't play are as important as the bits you do.

    Show me a map, dammit! :-)