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Toward a radical middle

a time for fear
Monday, September 08, 2003  
The vox and the fole

When one says that heterology scientifically considers the question of heterogeneity, one does not mean that heterology is, in the usual sense of such a formula, the science of the heterogenous. The heterogenous is even resolutely placed outside the reach of scientific knowledge, which by defintion is only applicable to homogenous elements. Above all, heterology is opposed to any homogenous reperesentation of the world, in other words, to any philosophical system. The goal of such repersentations is always the deprivation of our universe's sources of excitation and the development of a servile human species, fit only for the fabrication, rational consumption, and conservation of products.
Georges Bataille The Use Value of D.A.F. de Sade

Cave systems. Insect tracks, tunnels, pathways, hollows and hovels. The broken cliffs afford shelter in their crevices, arches, ravines and cut-aways. Matted grass, fescue, lichen. Lizzards scuttle over beds of thyme and rock rose. "There are unconfirmed reports of swifts nesting in the cliffs." Jackdaws drive out choughs. Linnets and yellowhammers in windshorn shrub. Kingfishers make their way to the sea, ring ouzels from inland. Snow buntings on the cliffs in late October. The hunt of fox and vole. Natural slit in the cliff face walled off, held by smugglers. Tales. A tease. Relics of the Pleistocene era. Beneath here, unseen, that is, trapped, petrified. Cave bear, hyena, ox, bison, woolly rhinoceras, mammoth and reindeer. Also, animal bones, fragments of pottery, weapons. Hard winds full of ice and sleet, and a cold grave. Sea plantation and rock samphire seeking out sea-spray. Blind like bats, flowers stretching for the sun. Sharp bursts of thrift and squill. Rock plants of sub-aerial scree. Limestone cliffs rise, hit by Atlantic gales. Crowned by a navigational beacon, the plateau curves down from its summit. Life hums, sings and simmers on the exposed tidal channel. Brittle stars lose arms among the rolling pebbles. Starfish stranded on the high shore after storms. Hermit crabs scuttle among the wrack. Gulls pick their way through smashed sea shells and disembowelled shore crabs. "The sky near Burryholms was blackened with birds." A fierce and remarkable autumn. A mass of whirling starlings. A vast, ominous, teeming roost. The air bites. Air bites. Driftlines of seaweed. Cliff and dune weeds flourish in the turbulence of wind speed and wave action. Ice-crusts form in shallow waters. Carrion crows scour the shoreline. Submerged forest of unexploded bombshells. Cliff walk promenade of concrete shelters, cracked and warped. A wartime artillery observation post at the North point. Quicksands everywhere. A grey Atlantic seal, stranded at the cove. Exhausted auks blown inshore by winter gales. Catching prey, lassoo cells. Sea rush zone. "The milky latex of sea spurge." Clotted seaweed: red algae, oarweed, kelp. Fragments of razor, mussel and other seashells. She sells. Sea drift, artefacts. Ship trash, slip trash: lobster cages, rubber gloves, plastic bottles, knotted rope and tupperware. Lost and found: broken biros, cig filters, plastic straws, gull feathers. Crab corpse covered in sandflies. Scatter of delicate urchin exoskeletons. Clandestine mission creep of limpets. Hyrbid swarm of parasites and scavengers. The crackle, spit and splutter of rock pools, molecular warzones, tide receding. Refracted roar of RAF jets across the horizon. Monkfish thrown back overboard and washed ashore. Winter whistle of Oystercatchers spinning through the howl and hiss of wind and rain. Cormorants perched on the balcony and lantern balustrade of the last cast-iron lighthouse. Peregrine perched on a dead tree trunk. Piles of cockelshells. Stranded false killer whales. Sawbills and scoter tackle rip-tides and currents. Seals swirling through a strong swell. Pintail arrive from breeding grounds in the Baltic. Whole rafts on the wind in dance. Airborne raptor, dropping, arcing, cutting, ascending. Looking back amongst the debris on the high tide line.

Not surprisingly, there are a number of legends associated with the monument, the most popular being that the capstone was once a pebble flung away by King Arthur, who found it in his shoe while walking in Llanelli. The stone is also claimed to have been split by a blow from Excalibur, Arthur's sword (or according to a later variation, by St David to prove it was not sacred), and that on Midsummer Eve the stone goes down to the Burry stream, to drink.
Excerpt from Historic Gower

A school of dolphins playing off-shore mid-june. Ghost-grey basking shark looms like a phantom from prehistory. Blue lobsters and red crabs. Hoverflies, bluebottles, and wasps throughout summer months. Many butterflies, bees and weeds. Droneflies, wasps and greenbottles. The hum of wings. Small coppers and orange tips. Red admirals skimming the sea surface. Wandering groups of free range ponies. Bracken, bramble, gorse and rushes web across limestone, moor and meadow. Bared soil, delicate flower-trails, fragile blue flowers. Wheat and barley fields and corn crops. The trace of stream and ditch absorbed by rock during summer. Pasture reverted to scrubland, overrun by gorse, hawthorn and rose. Tussocks of moor-grass and rushes. Mossy mounds. Store cattle, wild horse and branded sheep. A stoat atop a telegraph pole. A mob of ravens. Velvety blankets of rare grass and smooth lids of algea. Cuckoo flower and silver weed. Freshwater swamps, ravenous bogs. Acres and volumes of sandhills sprinkled with birch spinneys and willow slacks. Oscillation of wind-combed dunes. Sand is always on the move. Rusted barbed wire and bonfire remains like sacrifical residue. Arid sandy slopes. Dry dune meadow. Misty skyline. A medieval sea wall colonised by thistles. A village lost inside dense woodland. A house that was a hotel. An abandoned quarry. The lost trail of ancient relics, the erasure of events and exchanges. Barrows, dolmens, menhirs and castles. A calamitous Norman stronghold on a cliff top. The castle that is haunted and cursed, and its story. Lost links and folds of time eclipsed by flora, wood and sand. Crumbling walls, leafy lanes, coils of road and hedgerow. Farmland that ends at a cliff face. Caravan sites, villages and hamlets. Bare paths and car parks. Land Rovers, Range Rovers, a bottlegreen Jaguar, a red Alfa Romeo. Summer pudding, strawberries and bucket, spade and net. White sails, anchored yachts, fishing trawlers, and a handsome ferry. A tidal island, a sweep of sand, a range of dunes. Expanse of mudflats and estuary, wooded cliffs on the North shore, eventually merging into coal fields and hills. Across a stile, down a muddy path, between gorse and nettle, dancing past adders and grass snakes. Very smooth pebbles, a brook full of ferns. Cut drainage channel and a sluice gate. A sheltered bridge quite high above a stream. A small church hidden in woodland by the side of a bleak bay. Light showers and dewfall. Transparent slats of sunlight through crowding cloud. The escape of dappled spots. These turn to shafts. These turn to bursts. Then sheets. Still until the incoming tide laps your toes, a gull perched on ragged rocks. Sun drips and collapses like a sodden pudding. There's a music of

Thrushes crack snail shells open on tarmac baths and discarded bottles. There's the art and order of erosion and accretion, for example, the succesion and balance of deconstructional and constructional waves, dragging and depositing material, i.e. pebbles and boulders, wearing down the angles, displacing and replacing, with no total loss or gain of material. But there is also the sea eating away at limestone shelves, and its random appetite and unpredictable attack. There is also the crenellations this creates, the refuge, nests and hideaways. Sedimentation and colonisation. This is the living space and the no-mans land between creation and waste. Of birth, death, folklore, legend, tragedy and shipwreck, holiday and labour, migration and passage.

1:37 PM

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