Bo(u)lder rush II: 'the cup that overfloweth'
The knife wants to slit you
the sea wants to take you
- The Smiths
Could the world of waves be clarified? In her 'precisions sur les vagues', French writer Marie Darrieussecq investigates into the crests, eddies, and whirlpools of the Atlantic ocean, by which she lives and breathes. Her little treatise is a classic among surfers.
Being a 'follower and deliverer of difference', the surfer is a renowned conceptual athlete in contin(g)ental philosophy (cf Deleuze, Serres, Zizek). Karl Palmås means that what Bergson understood as intuitive thinking -- to merge with, dissolve in, and melt into whatever you are researching -- is motorically and cognitively duplicated in the performance of the surfer.
Running on breakwaters has in a former post been seen as surfing the conceptual (and physical) border between nature and culture. Surfing is always coastal, whether on land or on sea. The bo(u)lder runner is the sibling and symmetrical counterpart of the surfer: both ride noise and both 'eat next to' which is the etymological root of the word parasite.
Instead of waves, I run on coastal cliffs and boulders, the crumbled solidity of which almost appears as a shattered, fragmented statue depicting erosion and man's fear of flux: the froth of the land in its desperate attempt to keep the waters at bay.
Flood. The world is being overflooded right now. People suffer from the rushing waters that nourish them, or as Serres says: the parasited parasites the parasite. Whether or not it is global warming -- in turn an alleged effect of the proliferation of naturalcultural hybrids -- that causes extreme weather phenomena, the blending of the two poles is an old taboo.
HC Andersen's 'The little mermaid' is a tale on that theme, this time with a maritime creature crossing the sacred border (instead of an initial human transgression as in for instance Godzilla). A contemporary version of that story is to be found in Hayao Miyasaki's motion picture 'Ponyo on the cliff by the sea'.
Ponyo is the daughter of Miyamoto, a magician in a submarine -- think captain Nemo cum David Bowie. Once a human, Miyamoto now schemes to desintegrate the destructive and earth-abusing humanity by unleashing the pristine and infathomable powers of the ur-ocean. However, one tiny detail ruins his calculations: the (human?) curiousity of his daughter Brunhilde.
Brunhilde repeatedly tries to escape the sub to reach the surface, and finally succeeds in doing so. Once entering the earthly realm, she encounters a boy, Sosuke, who lives on a house on a steep cliff by the ocean. His father is a captain and his mother works with elderly people. Sosuke adopts the funny little fish as his pet and gives her the name Ponyo.
During the film Ponyo moves to and fro in two aspects: firstly, between anthropomorphic and piscine form (due to licking the blood from, i.e. eating next to, Sosuke's scratch-wound, and thereby healing him), and, secondly, between sea and land. The culmination of her constant metamorphosis is taking place when she accidentally, after being held against her will in her piscine form and in her father's submarine, opens the door to the chamber where her father keeps his magic potions, and where the well of the ur-water happens to be.
The force that begins to flow freely after this incident alters the structure of the universe, and the cataclysmic current of ancient creatures and waters that bursts up against the surface bears Ponyo like a herald of the apocalypse. Her first aim is to find Sosuke, who (in a car driven by his mother) has a hard time trying to get home in the approaching storm (1.00-1.19).
The way Ponyo moves (on) the waves is the exact kind of momentum the bo(u)lder runner tries to catch: swiftly prancing with light feet in order to parry the slight topographical (or in this case, topological) deviations of the surface.
Not only does she run like a bo(u)lder runner, she does it on the surfer's turf, why we in this extraordinary demonstration, for the first time, see a merging between the two.