I had an epiphany when I was young: I realized that, of all the art I’d encountered that had moved or changed me, the creators of these works would never know I existed. Most of them were dead, and there was no chance I’d ever meet the ones who were alive while I was alive. The epiphany was that this experience of vast solitude that I felt as an audience was something I’d also feel as an artist—but it wasn’t an encounter with absence. It was something sorcerous and magical, a force that insisted on presence.
In college I had a physics professor who wrote the date and time in red marker on a sheet of white paper and then lit the paper on fire and placed it on a metallic mesh basket on the lab table where it burned to ashes. He asked us whether or not the information on the paper was destroyed and not recoverable, and of course we were wrong, because physics tells us that information is never lost, not even in a black hole, and that what is seemingly destroyed is, in fact, retrievable. In that burning paper the markings of ink on the page are preserved in the way the flame flickers and the smoke curls. Wildly distorted to the point of chaos, the information is nonetheless not dead. Nothing, really, dies. Nothing dies. Nothing dies.
∆ Nicholas Rombes, The Absolution of Roberto Acestes Laing