Standing at the shore
You have come to the beach. Towel in hand, deck chairs, maybe a picnic, and arrived at the glistening interface of the sea. You position yourself in soft sand, nestled at the water’s edge. Here you are at the interface of the sea. To be on a beach means to position yourself in a dynamic transit zone, a meeting space in which different affective bodies merge. Your sunbathed body is situated in the quivering tension between the multiplicity of the sea and the land based structures: part of the ecological continuum of the marine and the terrestrial. You feel the grainy sand beneath you as the murmur of the ocean vibrates through your body. You become, like the beach, ecotonal, the meeting of two ecosystems as they intersect and overlap in creative tension. Eco, home, tone, tension; a home-in-tension. On the beach, you exist between nature and culture, human and more-than-human, fixity and fluidity.
Your body is a map of ecotonal territory that posits sets of conditions established through the intersection and overlapping of the different orders and systems of the sea. As seawater encounters the littoral zones of your body so you transform with the sea. Seawater reddens your eyes, stings your exposed wounds, dehydrates your thirsty body and curls straightened hair. To stand close to the sea is to allow the sea to alter you.
Take a step to the water. See how when the waves encounter your body they bend and spread out emerging in concentric half circles from the gaps in your form. Lie down. Allow the tide to wash over you. Witness the pooling of water between your arms and legs. The waves are diffracted. This is your own quantum experiment- as the wave encounters you body it is diffracted, not transferring through your body in its original form, but through circular diffraction patterns that negotiate the superimposition and overlapping of wave and body.
But your body confronts the sea through intensity and affectivity not cognition: through aquapelagic assemblages not the webs of modern territory. Your body is porous, permeable. The epidermis a series of punctuations, a divisionism of flesh and cells. As the saline water washes over your body and the exposed holes of perforated skin, your body flinches beneath the waves. These small almost undetectable bodily reactions within the water appear like vibrations; vibrations that speak of the immanent affectivity of the body to the forces of the sea; the quivering agency of the biological body engaged in the process of differentiation.
Seawater seeps into the skin, into your mouth and eyes. The water carries with it the various molecular and particulate assemblages in this sea. This then merges with your own watery milieu- your sweat, tears, saliva. That quivering might just be the cellular, chromosomal and biological union rendered visible- a symbiotic exchange of bodily fluids and salty sea water. Your body, as it collides and vibrates, is evidence of its own capacity to participate in the unpredictable mutations of substances within ecotonal territory.
Can you feel the recomposition of your body in the sea; the new flows of matters and substances within the waves? In this zone of fecundity and transformation; of multiplying and differentiating you stage a line of flight into the tension of ecotonal territory. Here, at the beach, matter comes to matter differently through the morphologically active materialization of the aquatic and terrestrial at the site of your body.
You are hot. Take to the water and swim. To swim is to conjugate your body with a body of water, it is to guide and be guided by eddies and flows, to be held afloat by watery fingers. Abandoned by gravity. You hold your breath and kick, perhaps you face downwards into the depths; eyes wide and stinging to see what lies beneath, perhaps you face towards the sun watching the clouds as they dissipate in front of your eyes. You move nomadically, horizontally.
To swim is not to be rooted or arboreal but to be abandoned in liquid. Movement and rest. You swim with, through and as a body of water. That is why you came to the beach, to encounter the world in a different way; to engage in a bodily process of learning with the world and with water that isn’t principled on those old issues of stasis and fixity. Rather, you came to affect and be affected by depths, waves and eddies.
So, swim. Swim and rupture the habitual attitudes and affirm a new relationship. The body of water opens itself up to you as a smooth space of affect; haptic, intensive, heterogeneous, infinite, open, entangled; occupied by the intensities of movement and noise. Enter the water and abandon the terrestrial coordinates of solid ground, of familiarity- feel the water pooling in the organs, flowing through the body, creating tributaries between body and sea.
Coming out of the water
Where is the rigidity of flesh?
You can hear the waves long after you leave; that nautical sonority and rhythm as they swell and crash, break and froth against the shoreline. In that rhythm of the waves is the sound of the whirling, unpredictable forces of the chaos of the world. At home you grapple with the chaotic formlessness of the universe. But the waves, the waves, well they regulate this into a nautical murmur, a kind of rhythm-chaos. The waves are indeed a provisional formalization of the elements of chaos coded within them; in the breaking of the waves, that chaos is rendered sonorous.
Of course, a wave is not simply a surface movement across the sea, waves are volumetric. Extracted from the depths of the sea and rolled out on its surface, these waves provide an encrypted communication between the striation of the surface and the perplexity and chaos of the deep. Folded in these waves are the multiplicity of milieus of the sea, from the energy of the sun, to the forces of current, to the osmotic membranes and schools of fish, to the geological formations and sediments.
And the wave is itself fundamentally musical; a harmonizing mapped and composed in terms of the musical cadences of the various milieus. In the rhythmical regularity, the various cadences of the sea’s milieu are brought together in melodic unity. When you listen to the waves you hear the passing of milieus in a heterogenerous block; repeating differently, coded differently as they meet the shore. Each wave in a perpetual state of transcoding and transduction.
Tides and eddies in the body; your body synchronized to the implacable movements of water.