THE OUTLANDS - we watch them going in a bubble of breath held -

THE OUTLANDS

ABOUT

We have found a route to the Outlands. It has been not by following directions though vaguely, with their sticks, others point saying they would go too (we watch them going in a bubble of breath held). Our work on the contrary is to subsist. When abrasions of the Outlands cast us back to sanctuary, event here thin resources for life’s sustaining can be found. We practice unlikely conservations, in the end forgetting comfort to dwell with Outlanders, where the earth’s colour exhausts rods. A cone-cranial bone is motioned, three small stones placed in its dish to circulate with rhythm: it is thought. And so thinking takes place. A cut fragment of cardboard then folded, placed under the heel: our protocol. And old ways are cloths torn, wetted and packed between teeth and gums. Our devices are string wrapped polythene released to ascend over grasslands by the runway: then we will imagine our missive sent. We are students of Outnature. Of its jagged rock enclosures and ponds in the sea. There are no birds if bats are not found in the cave, still black shapes flock. Then we will walk between the bungalows in low prairie, and out onto the terrace. Aerials’ slim wires against a magnesium sky in the distance lead us to where technicians have met to converse in low voices, hands covering their mouths unless they be lip-read. And near, bright concretes are submerged in a harbour where the water is purified and turned glass-clear. It is the effect of flora and called the unlikely ecologies of Outlands. Scramble the talus; seek nacreous surfaces. Talk on these matters is conducted in voices sub-vocal, only through out-takes and obscured scenes: a child lost under the brim of a paladin hat holds a clutch of black eggs. Enigmatically, an elegy is given by the beam of a lighthouse through broken panes. Handicraft is pyramid-building on the Outlands. Under foot the boards are unstable. So an Outlander squats beneath a flower-decorated cloth held faded on four poles secured with guys, in a shallow trough, while the caustic wind makes rags whip: all dwellers in Outlands and we with them.

*

An inventory for the survey of Outlands reads as follows: A workshop to host researches and to facilitate the production of missives, wires from the Outlands, the grid on which its results will be hung. It might be a small space, a library with meeting room; and adjoining it a writer’s study smaller still with ‘fourth wall’ giving onto a proscenium perhaps as intimate as the study itself. In fact sizes matter little but spaces must be dark at times. At other times light from high windows will penetrate. A figure will be seated, a restless man twitching in his chair, reading but impatiently from a broadsheet publication. Another figure obscured but seen there amidst assemblages of technology (some ancient, others contemporary – piles of stone, cassette tape recorders, discarded radios and turntables, a flute, an accordion, keyboards, laptops and hard drives, a mixer and a PA, loud speakers of various styles). Amidst these technological prostheses he dwells, or as an extension of them – from his posture it is difficult to tell. On an adjacent table printers, mechanical typewriters loaded with scrolls, binders and other equipment for the wiring of missives are placed. Behind the table, on a screen, the intermittency of visual data will be presented, and presented elevated in its presentation over so-called images and the blankness of screens alike. In front of the table, a third body will squat, mirror glass leaned against the tables edge, his movements mirrored in the space and recorded, looped back into the production of texts and scores that record minute details, counter-intuitive acknowledgments of imperceptible shifts in the body’s attitude. Video technologies will be used for the recording of the body’s postures and poses, but to emphasise – and no less to elevate as said – their shifts. A fourth figure measures time and constructs devices to carry out her task with precision. Radio transmitters and receivers will pick up sine tones and layered static. With the aid of a pneumatic power source, rubber bands, plastic bags and tin foil will be assembled as listening devices.

Neither writing’s material technologies nor methods for the dissemination of missives can be divorced from this survey of Outlands. Likewise no anthropology of Outlanders can be undertaken in blindness to writing’s material impacts. Radio, live transmission. The faculty exists to be opened. Our guests will expire. What generality is there of publics? We are impromptu. And long-planned long playing. The schedule is already embarked. Others will appear or vice versa. Some might prepare to be appeared well in advance where aspens sharpen. But then they will be improvised. But in any case the situations and events will occur, will occur, will occur, will occur. And more, in different registers series. Objects and tools. Constructions made fulfilled for all practical purposes. Because on Outlands all projects are called catastrophe. Pragmatism with pegs our art: at times when they are not in us they will be stored in proximity to the faculty. White plastic conditions of nature. Copies are white plastic to be arched. For what purpose we might seek assistant scriveners, transcribers possibly also to interpret, translate and archive? We will often laff or befony even though our ambition is elsewhere.

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