Zero. Zero is. Zero is another word for beginning. From zero the beginning is a seat. No. The beginning is the body; the beginning is the body in a seat. The beginning is the body, my body; the beginning is my body, from zero, sitting in a seat (an aside, a reminder: seat is another word for chair). From zero, zero in. The beginning begins in a feeling, the feeling of my eye, of the eye, turning; I feel the eye turn, zero in on a line: ‘[a]ll distances in time and space are shrinking’. This. This is zero. And this is how. How Heidegger begins. This is how Heidegger begins a chapter, a chapter called ‘The Thing’, in his book Poetry, Language, Thought. Where he begins (from zero), I am on my way to Madrid (not zero). To get there I am sitting here, in seat 17F on the 06:55am Ryanair flight from Dublin (Dublin is a zero; Dublin is a beginning), and I am reading Heidegger: ‘Man now reaches over-night, by plane, places which formerly took weeks and months of travel’. The flight to Madrid will take me (me equals ‘man’, yes, but also, no) a little over two hours (not over-night, hardly over a night, but yes) and give me just enough time to arrive, to sit in on the first lecture in a series of lectures that have been organised in conjunction with ‘Pity and Terror: Picasso’s Road to Guernica’, an exhibit which opened on 5 April 2017 to commemorate the eighty years since Gernika, the bombing of, and Guernica, the mural painted by. I am flying in and then, I am flying out, on the same day. I am flying out on the same day I am flying in because all distances in time and space are shrinking; from seat 17F, all distances in time and space have already been shrunk. Yes, but. More important. I am flying in because for all the times I have stood in front of Guernica, I have not seen them. My eye, the eye, has not turned: the eye sees machines. From zero, the eye sees only machines: a machine, next to a machine, next to another machine, and that machine, next to a machine, over and over, the eye sees machines, my eye sees only machines, again and again, from zero until infinity, my eyes do not see them.
From the essay This is (0) is When, gorse journal, online June 2017.