So, it feels all I can really do to begin is to try to sketch out the landscape of where I am, where it is I’m talking from. Even if it feels wrong – or too honest – that’s all I can do. It’s enough to say at the outset that there will be a lot of commonplaces and a lot of things which are too personally specific for a completely satisfying introduction. But maybe it would be something if at some point in the future you became satisfied with it.
I go to a university in London. I study Philosophy. That’s what I am now, that’s all I can give to the public for my substance. But I don’t know what there is to it. I learn a lot, but trying to make that mean anything outside of university is hard. Maybe that’s all I’m doing right now. Trying to integrate things. I write as much as most people who say they write do, I suppose – never finishing anything, letting ideas die when they stop working – and when I write, obviously a lot of my ideas come from Philosophy, so sometimes you want to directly talk about it. But you can’t be too blunt, you can’t just give a memoir or stylise an essay. I try to make it work. But it never feels right. And I don’t know a way out – it either feels like I would have to blind myself to what I know in order to get anywhere, but then… Maybe it would just be easier to give you a passage (to not completely confuse you, the moment is referring to a drop of rain which led to an unceasing flood (or so the plan went)):
Of course, I can speak of this moment only after the fact. The truth is that no one heard that first drop. No one could have spun out that train of thought which I just have, as it were, in the moment. The moment only happens now. If anyone had tried to do this, they would have been deterred by the second, third, fourth and fifth and perhaps sixth drops of rain which followed the first almost instantaneously. They would have rushed inside, or gone off to inform someone that it was raining, and, ‘should they get the laundry inside?’ Where can we achieve the silence necessary to get at the event of that solitary raindrop? Only now. Otherwise, quite simply, there is too much noise. This is how you should see this thing-in-your-hands: as an essay, a try – an effort. A physical one, of soundproofing. That is why the act of writing will always be sacred, and why the present will never be enjoyed like the past. The past is the thing we understand. The idea that we receive the past in an echo is untrue; the present is the echo, a dissonance, something we can’t quite grasp or make sense of – the past, therefore is something we turn into a song, a work of art and enjoy in an acoustically perfect auditorium.
I think you can probably see the fight there. All it really amounts to, - I can hear every hypothetical reader say – is finding a style. I know. But every deadlock always feels finite as it’s happening. So there’s searching for a style, but also for a medium. And if everything goes well there will be all the mediums we can use on here. And maybe one day they’ll be indistinguishable from each other.
To the site. We want this place to be somewhere which doesn’t expect you to engage with commentless photos, or impenetrable musings. Or even expect you to be a passive observer. I think most of all we want some sort of assurance, some sort of fraternity out of this assurance – that this isn’t strange, that this is normal – this is how it should be. The border between of observer and participant needs to be redrawn or destroyed. If you ever have any art featured on this site, it doesn’t have to be end there. Nothing gets built that way, nothing gets achieved. The internet will stay a void if we don’t lay some sort of foundations down. This is why (partly) this site is an unquiet void, – a void nonetheless, but one which always threatens to cease being one, which constantly upsets the anticipation of the nothingness we experience on the internet (and in life). This is our hope, anyway. The best and worst thing about this site is that it’s definitely going to need someone to step out of a void and join us in the trenches, -1m below sea level (down from the other void, space, or the invisible No Man’s Land), and help us out. But for now there’s only us and so this is what we’re putting down.I suppose there’s no real place for apathy here. But that’s the environment we’re working in. Between people, there’s only a quiet dissatisfaction. And you’re automatically on the fringes as soon as you propose that things should, could really change. So this, like that passage from my stillbirth of a book, is going to look like a failure, a failure to think things through. And maybe this sort of thing will embarrass you and you’ll prefer to hang out on Tumblr or Flickr or some zine which is popular at the moment, where they give you nothing and expect you to enjoy it and nothing will ever change – for you or for them. But if you don’t want that, then something is starting here. And it’s up to you what it becomes, as much as it’s up to us.
I don’t want to make this sound like a leap of faith. It’s not. We know this is right for the most logical reasons ever. We want to take you along with us, and show you what our world consists of, and convince you (god, yes) that this could be right. Ideas. There’s no room for dogmatism, but, fuck, we need something to get behind. Letting everyone think how they will makes atoms of us all, floating in a void we’ll never understand. I hope all that sounds as naïve as it possibly can.
Onto work. It’s no surprise that when talking to Dan recently, he stated his desire to shoot only night shots. If you look at these pictures, they all feature something emerging from a nothingness. This is the quality the night provides. It’s also no surprise that these things take the shapes of martyrs on crosses, because we (and this article) are martyrs for a faith just begun.
The photographs are manifestations of an unquiet void. If these are all you ever associate with the idea, then that will be enough. These subjects emerging from the void are sometimes solid, sometimes edging their way out of existence, or shooting off like a rocket into some netherworld.
This car stops being just a car with ordinary properties. In the void, it stands out as a burning item, an item which possesses power. It’s been nominated, somehow, by the nullity of its surroundings. Because of this, the void becomes feverish to us, a place of perverse fertility where a bead of sweat on an ill head is seen as a sign of its fecundity. So too, these boats are heading into a void.
You can’t imagine being able to discover a new continent. What supreme naivety to keep going when everything tells you to turn back, the crushing disappointment of endless blank seas. But that’s what this will be, featureless seas, perhaps with a scraping onto land in the end. It’s good faith which keeps you going. It’s a God’s eye-view which we have here. It’s that which causes us to urge these boats along, because we know the distance isn’t as great as it seems to them. And to throw up more analogies, at the moment it is me and Daniel alone on a sea, and as things go on, the seascape will change, the swells and dips will disappear and reappear, and maybe more travelers will emerge from the horizon to join us. It’s a sign of the potential of this that everything about it engenders metaphor and analogy.
Words by Ryan Boyd
Photography by Daniel Grant