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Island.Our Watery bodies serve as material media. Uisge dèanamh cinnteach gu bheil ar bith againn an-còmhnaidh a ‘fàs. Water ensures that our being is always a becoming. Tha sinn an taobh a-staigh, tha thu a ‘eile’. (We are the interior, you are the ‘other’). We combine and cooperate as a strategy for thriving.We have repurposed your mimetically capacious machine. Tha sinn ga chur anns an talamh.. We have put it in the ground. It has sprouted a community wind turbine.We are off your grid. We sail as if on invisible isthmuses between friends’ houses and the Ferry Port, sharing the bounty you bring. You stare, confess and are reborn, all within a week. Bha thu a ‘coimhead,’ g aideachadh agus tha reborn, a h-uile taobh a-staigh seachdain. I’m alright, you’re alright. It’s all fine. You don’t understand how easy your life is. Compared to mine. You are economically myopic, rurally-challenged, dis-embodied from community, but you’re alright. Your attention span is limited and you struggle to trust yourself. Do aire span cuibhrichte agus tha thu a ‘strì gus earbsa fhèin. Our (living, breathing) Hive Mind requires that you overcome these shortcomings.Listen to some Reidio Saor Innse Gall, it will lighten your spirits.
Ocean. We are all bodies of Water, in the constitutional, the genealogical and the geographical sense. Ecriture lavasse, a liquid mimesis. I would corrupt your mimetically capacious machines with low salt and dark sand and deep time. I would keep it in the ground. I could kill you. You kill me. So I’m going to swallow you up. Time and tide remain impatient. Look to my bed where the bones of your histories are colonised by my chromosomes. Our simultaneities. Your Story So Far. Hebrides: 8, veering, becoming moderate. High, very high, imminent, soon, later.
Mainland. Neither essentialist, nor purely discursive, this watery feminism is critically materialist. With my mimetically capacious machines. I imagine myself as your dystopia. I project onto you my guilt and trauma, as though you are open access, like the cloud but Luddite in outlook. You become the ground for my ‘other’ stories. How do Become like you? How do I become non-modern, like you? Mar-aon sgeulachdan ruige seo, but not the same stories, and just a little bit out of step. Your reception comes and goes. I imagine your deep interior and bear witness to my own embodied otherness. I snatch lexicons from endangered species and litter them between made up words and a little bit of name-dropping. I catch the World at One but you embody the World at One With Itself.
(These notes constitute work in progress for a possible chapter in the forthcoming book Visual Culture and The Northern British Archipelago. They are inspired by my recent (and many previous) visits to the Outer Hebrides. Sentences in italic are from the essay Hydrofeminism by Astrida Neimanis. A short film is under construction and the stills shown here were taken on my most recent trip to Barra.