How I Tried to Catch the Void
hands-on exploration of the forms of emptiness in urban life
Publish something every day, better trice. Hustle. Refresh the newsfeed. Read the news. Keep up. Network. Sell. Refresh. Watch. Buy. Share. For a Westerner of the twenty-first century, nothing is more unsettling than an empty space, than a piece of time and space not chock-full of content — be it a pause in a conversation, a waiting line, or an idea of death.
But the masters of the past civilizations had a different approach to the void.
The ancient masters had a way to play with the void instead of denying its right for existence; they would caress her as a lover with a stroke of a brush, they would worship her as a goddess in days-long meditation practice — and then strangle her to harness her powers.
“Am I worse than the ancient masters?”— I thought, — “I’m going to try and catch the void as well.”
The void is curious. It may belong in foggy landscapes and abandoned monasteries, but sometimes you can spot it in the city, where it seeps through the days, steps lightly, unnoticeable for an unprepared eye.
As a human, the way you catch an ancient, wild, immaterial thing is by giving it a name and a physical shape that make it easy for everyone to put a finger on it.
So I went to prepare the traps.
1. Void in an object
Blanc. was an idea for a product design contest in 2016, and my first attempt to court that elusive mistress. The task was to create a bottle and a label that would be distinctive and attractive, and I thought — what if instead of stuffing the label with variegated graphics, we just leave it empty, and allow people to write down whatever the moment represents for them?
We won something that time, and then I passed a few days lost in Photoshop, imagining all the possible contexts around this label — an inspired entrepreneur, an exalted lover, a group of friends that fought many battles together, a delirious hero deciding his fate in Crime and Punishment.