Opicinus De Canistris World Map
The map began as a scribble, a doodle. Begins as a failure to write, to “compose.”
In lieu of a word there’s a wiggle of pen wandering aimless in search. Cartography-graphology-psychology – a loitering for logos.
Begins this way – in hope of words, a sort of squiggle. A body desiring a mind. To show up, to take over, provoke or convince – to appear, make a meaning, disclose – to figure toward sign. Some unconcealing.
The signal’s not there, so it moves: the hand, the instrument, the breath and the heart – are they tools? And for what? A cartographer’s dream. Of no training, no knowledge, even reason is lacking.
A pen making marks on a page, mapping none. Tracing nonsense. It begins in this way, and it leads, so he hopes (it hopes, is hope, is desire).
The scrawl travels over the page – given borders and boundaries, arbitrary and set – 6”x9” and lined with a soft viscous grey. He (it) slows down. Just a hand and an arm and a shoulder – in motion – holding a technical device filled with fluid – black, yes, like bile, but less tacky, diluted – it flows, threading lines – it’s con-fusion – yet taking, biting, inscribed. Something happens. Drawings are locked to a medium stock. Incomprehensibles stained on a page.
It crawls on.
This mapping begins in a loss. He is lost. It is lost. Doesn’t “know.” Just beginning, because – with desire. It is driven, compelled, WRITER WANTS (for to write) with “nothing to write, and no means to write it” yet constrained to keep writing, to expunge merely SOMEthing, some THING. Which is NO thing, no THING, but to mark. It goes on.
Makes a map, a map-ping, tangled series of lines meaning nothing, no THING, but creating TO-WARD. Ward off absence, off void, ward off death, this is to – .
It (he) is tired. Is forlorn. Is an absence and loss, a re-mission, re-cursion, re-morse. And not even that clear.
Scribbles on. NOT a map. NOT directions. For NO where to go – NOW here, now HERE, no-where. Which begins all the longing, for “he’s” heard it said, found it written – in signs, in-scribed, sign-i-fied: but NOT HERE. Not in him or this body. NOT THIS. No sense. Non-sense. “It’s” not “working.”
Trail dwindles along cross the page. It’s a map. Just of being. NOW here. Now. HERE. Looks like this – some electrocardiomusculoskeletalpsycognilinguadigital-gram. From this angle, this tool, these techniques. As a Ouija. No meaning. Saussurating. Arbitrary. Mediate. Only markings.
And so it begins – as a failure to write – as a scribble – an assay – a tribute to write – that cannot, that will not, that does not…quite occur.