Photographs: Alan Smith ACA
95% as far as the eye can see
Because I’ve been thinking, writing and making art about nothingness, gaps, absences and the ‘in-between’ for several years, and would love to spend time thinking, talking and making work about nothing with others who share my fascination. In 2011 I finished an MA in environmental philosophy, and my thesis ‘Nothing Really Matters’ was on nothingness in Sartre and Levinas and how it might inform ecological thought.
I’m now working on a book about ‘The Subtle Ether’, in which the now outdated concept of the ‘lumeniferous ether’ of enlightenment science is used as a metaphorical hook on which to hang a related set of ideas about the nothingness between and within things. This will take the form of a collection of thematically linked lyric essays. One of these will, I hope, be about ‘dark’ ecology, darkness, and the spaces between the stars. This is part of a PhD in Creative Writing I am undertaking at the University of St. Andrews, with the poet and novelist John Burnside supervising.
'Gravity Boots' and accompanied short text:
Walking up a hill is a good time to remember that gravity remains a mystery to science, though knowing this doesn't help wth the climb much. How strange it is that this firm press of my two feet upon the ground should be felt so keenly by the body, yet seen so dimly by the mind. They say that cold dark matter, the unseen stuff that makes up most of the universe, trawls through us all the time. Like all of the visible world I am fat with the unseen fullness of empty space. Dark matter, slow, lead-heavy, its dull pull clumps galaxies together like dust seeding rainclouds. Puffing uphill I am clogged with it. I feel my own weight as it leans into me. Yet this whole shining world would drift away without its dark ballast.'