by Ogutu Muraya

Zero is zero but what else can it be? Zero is a living word, a word that is self-moving, self-replicating,progressively complicating itself Zero is words heavy like prison doors, words stirring, words stinging, words stringing into unapproachable silences Zero is an idea, distant, distinct, distilled, fliting, flirting, fluttering eternal energies of entanglement Zero is a mirror of time, time unlimited, time interstellar, time intertwined, time undefined, time geological, Zero is nothing and in that nothing something, stories before there were stories to tell, music raising above overwhelming noise Zero is a mask that unmasks, a frame that un-frames, a tale that untells, a name that un-names Zero is lamentations, ululations, riotous, primal cries suspicious of identity politics and pseudo-liberations Zero is rounded, globular, spherical, circular, without a marked beginning or a definite end, uninterrupted continuity Zero lacks directional properties, a compass without a fixed North, it is multi-dimensional, equally sensitive and equally intense Zero is singleness of intention, undivided attention, watching the last flicker of life, eager fatalism Zero wages life in a time of war, a wave of poisoned joy, intimate whispers of free at last Zero is sonic restructuring, sounds of exorcism, echoing and evicting zones of non-being Zero smiles, transforms, transitions, transgressing even the iciest ofhearts, subverting coldness Zero is fiercely vibrant, improvised, dynamic rhythm, a space of creative ritual Zero is a seeker of silences, retracts and retreats, dwelling in inner world, the under surfaces Zero is an alienated earworm, cracked, dogged, dislocated, fractured, fragile music Zero is palpable, pulsating, supple, simple, palm wine on a hot and humid day Zero is mystical, enigmatic, murmur of immaterial mindfulness nursing illusions of control Zero is a beat, the beat, the beat, the beat, the beat, the beat, the beat Zero is pure ego, inspiring uneasiness, fidgeting wind eating a dull cigarette Zero is a longing, a yearning, a desire, a need, an itch, an urge for warm, mental, steamy, sexy, soulful, remedial, subversive self-love Zero decomposes itself into the earth from which new life bud,sprout and grow Zero is the look of silence, what needs to be said has been said, what is not said is said without words, and there is nothing else to say “Zero” was written by Ogutu Muraya for his solo performance Fractured Memory. Fractured Memory reimagines James Baldwin’s essay ‘Princes and Powers’ which describes in great detail a congress of Afrointellectuals, writers, artists, philosophers and theorists, held at the Sorbonne in Paris in 1956. Central to his research and this performance is a multiplicity of perspectives which includes Baldwin’s essay, historical archive, and personal experience. The piece aims to create an acknowledgement of a shared history and to find a new vocabulary to deal with its uncomfortable truths. Muraya explores the borders between oral and visual narrative in order to create a multidimensional space where the teller and the image form both dialogue and unity. “Zero generously offers a multiplicity of possibilities. I find it fascinating that zero as a number is neither negative nor positive - in zero duality becomes unity - this is hope for me. In the sense of the performance zero becomes the space and place where it is possible for all to be whole - there are no fractions of zero as number.” - O.M. Ogutu Muraya is a writer and theatre-maker whose work is embedded in the practice of orature. He engages the sociopolitical with the belief that art is an important catalyst for advocacy, for questioning our certainties, and for preserving stories often ‘misstold’ or suppressed in the mainstream. Ogutu studied International Relations at USIU-Africa and recently graduated with a Master in Arts at Amsterdam University of the Arts - DAS Theatre. He has been published in the Kwani? Journal & Chimurenga Chronic. His performative works & storytelling have featured in several theatres and festivals including- La Mama (NYC), The Hay Festival (Wales), HIFA (Harare), NuVo Arts Festival (Kampala), Spoken Wor:l:ds (Berlin), Globe to Globe Festival (London), Ranga Shankara (Bangalore), Afrovibes Festival (Amsterdam), Art in Resistance: Spielart (Munich), and throughout East Africa. He is a recipient of The Eric Brassem Exchange Certificate. Abstract of web project Fascinated by “recognition of pluralism”, one of the solutions to approach Hope, 👩🏻‍🔧 made this website where you can experience this solution. To Ertem’s voice, the XPUB students add their own voices and further, various anonymous x (maybe you, your neighbours or a dinosaur) participate in this digital journey.