A short text written for a new exhibition at the Athr Gallery in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia entitled The Bravery of Being Out of Range. It’s been a pleasure to meet the gallery’s founders, Mohammed Hafiz and Hamza Serafi, the latter of whom I have interviewed for the forthcoming Edge of Arabia book.
So, it’s like this. Right now, you’re everywhere. Every. Where. Not here, neither there, nor hither, thither. Not even in some space between the two extremes (as though there are only two ends to a line). You’re outside the inside, outside of outside, but for reasons unknown, you are trapped. You feel “nothing much.”
You claim, however, that you hear it all. Your ears are “on fire.” In fact your doctor says you have labyrinthitis. You don’t know what this is—lab-ee-rin-th-eye-tus— so your doctor looks it up on his computer, an old cranky thing with keys that clatter and a screen that bows the way an arrow bows through endless time. Your symptoms are Google-able.
You absorb the news. “There is a labyrinth in my head?” This worries you—not because head-space is at a premium, and labyrinths can be colossal, but because lately, you have felt lost in a labyrinth that starts with your own computer screen and… Anyway, it ends … well, does it end? Are you waiting for it to end? If you’re everywhere is it only because everywhere you are looks like everywhere else you could be?
You told the doctor about a recurring dream, and he—his name being Carla Jung (WTF!)—tells you that other peoples’ dreams are boring. But, he adds, the daydreams of a repressed nation are not! You disregard his disdain and explain that in this dream you are nowhere. Literally, no-where*.
You think you have a body because how else could you think without one, huh, but, this body isn’t positioned anywhere, it doesn’t touch the ground, because there is no ground to touch, no gravity to rainbow, just infinity to jest.
You are no-where, Prince of Pale Disappearance. Already, Carla has been sent into a trash TV numbness. You are beyond the horizon of Jersey Shore and Sunset Beach, Huffington Jazeera, Explorer Safari, male and fe-Mail, Inboxes, Outboxes, Oprah endorsed amnesia and abuse, The Book of Steve Jobs, PINGS! triiiiiings, Quranic ring-tones and toned down voices in the “Quiet Zone” (imagine, shhh, imagine). Can you now feel restive rest, rolling, riding on an invisible ocean?
Only then to wake up, shivering, sweating like Robert De Niro neck-deep in method character, because in your dream that does away with the labyrinth and the labours of being everywhere at once, you have just died. It’s like this: Boredom has killed you.
* “If you think of thirty-seven people—those people are real, I mean every one of them has a face of his own, a family, he lives on his own particular street. Why, if you sell, say two thousand copies [of your book], it is the same thing as if you had sold nothing at all because two thousand is too vast—I mean, for the imagination to grasp.” Jorge Luis Borges, http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/4331/the-art-of-fiction-no-39-jorge-luis-borges