lines extruded from walls

I spent another afternoon at the Southwark Fire Training Ground, investigating the red line with the generous hospitality of the London Fire Brigade. The BA (Breathing Apparatus) Space is a dark blue chamber through which a slim red rope guide line is tied by a team of two men.

In the darkness the back of the hand is used to sweep the wall for obstructions and tie-off points on which to knot the line to keep it between shoulder and waist height. If the back of the hand is cut, through heavy gloves, the hand will still function.

Lights out. Gripping the shoulders of the man in front, gripped at the waist by the man behind, an eyeless theatrical horse, there was a slow conga through the tingling monochrome of zero visibility, tracing the line.

Two small cords hang at intervals, a longer one in front means that you are heading into the structure, and when a shorter cord knotted twice is in front it means you are heading back out towards the point the line enters the building.

It is impossible to see, to photograph the line as a continuum.

PAROLE is the unfolding in time of a set of possibilities given in space, that set of possibilities being what Saussure calls LANGUE.

*[diagram taken from Roman Jakobson, Closing Statement: Linguistics and Poetics]

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