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Where I Am Not

2018

 

In April 2018, Australian Alasdair Asmussen Doyle set out for the point furthest away from his birth place, the antipode (35° 4’ 51.3” N, 41° 8’ 11.5” W).

 

Remnants of the failed expedition exist in the form of 22 minutes of 16mm film, a logbook, and the waiting place of four photographs.

 

Where he is not:

 

Not in the photographs. (Still waiting to be taken.)

Not in the log book. (‘Sails down’, his only comment.)

Not caught on camera. (No crew, no captain, no face appears from behind the lens—just,

the Azores left behind, the sails crumpled, the rigging loose, the sea, choppy at first, soon calmed, rippling, silken.)

 

Not where he’d started. (The birth certificate details the hospital, the names, the occupations of his parents.)

Not with his roots. (But, instead, as if they’d burrowed through the world, he aims for his antipode, the spot furthest from his birthplace, a set of coordinates in the middle of the North Atlantic.)

Not where he wanted; not where he thought.

 

(A few days in, the wind left him; stilled too long, he knew this time he would not make it. To have arrived would have been to reach the point at which going further meant coming back; it seems apt that this approach might be an asymptote, not-being a trajectory. Not so much a place achieved, but a staggered displacing.)

 

Not in the photographs. (What would they look like?)

Not in the log book. (What could be said?)

Not caught on camera. (Though maybe we could glimpse it—in the folds of the waves, or the crease of the horizon, the sun’s submersion, the passing of the day.)

 

Not at the end. (Not having made it.)

Not with his returning. (He promises a series: of measured unbecomings, attempts at being-less.)

Not being finished; not being, not yet.

 

(Text by Kit Webb, 2018)

 

'Dislodgings' by Kit Webb (pdf)