To be nowhere and stay there

A taste for wandering, for the methodical exploration of uninteresting places; a need to visit nothingness, to open myself up to the heaviness and boredom of reality.

I park at the edge of the village.

It's late morning.

After a few metres, a stone wall overlooks an empty garden.

Protecting the void. Delimiting and enhancing it.

Like a frame around a white canvas.

Like a cassette with an empty tape.

Like the center of the Temple in Jerusalem, which was an empty room where no one – except the high priest – could enter.

Everything here seems chaotically juxtaposed: family homes, vacant lots, industrial buildings.

And also my memories, the ideas that come to me, the contradictory emotions I feel – a mixture of boredom, excitement and disgust, as is often the case during these wanderings that I impose on myself methodically, as if as an experiment.

A garden with flowering trees, debris of all kinds, advertising hoardings stuck to old farmhouses, a cement works on the horizon, always visible wherever you are.

There's an unintentional surreal beauty in this juxtaposition.

There's something familiar, welcoming, in this chaos, too; like an untidy room, on the scale of a village. The inhabitants make themselves comfortable. They know no one ever comes, that they can spread out.

I try to imagine what kind of life I myself could live here. I long to be one of them.

Living here as in the desert. In silence, immobility, anonymity.

With the shutters drawn too. For ever.

No longer just wandering the streets, but establishing myself in this kind of setting – not to be at home here, but to be precisely nowhere, to be here and stay here.

Who lives in this house? No one. It doesn't matter. You come to live here to be nobody.

Some houses look abandoned. Are they really? Or have their inhabitants given up with relief on lawnmowers and the useless, losing battle against entropy?

When I was younger, I dreamed of settling in one of the many abandoned houses in my town, with a few friends, and founding something between a militia, an artistic cenacle and a cult. I know now that this will never happen.

I grew up with punk and post-punk. I took countless walks around the neighborhood on lonely mornings as a teenager, instead of going to class. With gray skies, loneliness and Joy Division on my ears. 'Down the dark streets, the houses looked the same'. It's an experience of emptiness that has stayed with me forever and that I can recall at will. The emptiness of life; the adolescent intuition, incredibly powerful and devoid of the slightest doubt, that the world is empty, that we wander in it and that there's nothing else to expect, that existence is purposeless, that no event, no encounter, that nothing will ever really happen. An intuition I've never been able to shake off.

When I arrived at the new housing estate, I thought back to my adolescence.

Of all those teenage mornings spent zoning out between the supermarket, the fields and the empty, silent, indifferent residential streets.

The drizzle. The white sky.

It was a world where all doors were closed.

Where all the houses had one thing in common: they weren't mine.

Down the dark streets, the houses looked the same.

The houses in this silent, deserted village were so similar to others I'd entered in my youth, to see friends, to flirt, to do homework together. I was always surprised by the empty streets where they lived, by the surrounding silence.

There was no social or community life here.

That was the very mission of these neighborhoods. Their historic function.

No place to stop, no place to go.