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Pony in a Pit, April 2023 at Suzy Two in Ashland, Oregon


A hundred and thirty seven years ago the horse depicted in these sculptures lived, breathed, and was conscious. Now, I invite you to cuddle with his ghost.  


Emile Zola’s 1885 novel Germinal is set in a coal-mining town at the end of the 19th century. Zola describes the brutal oppression of workers in this industry as they struggle for a better quality of life. 

In the mine lives Bataille, a pit pony (a horse brought below ground when it was a foal to work pulling carts in a mine, never to see daylight again). 


“Now, with advancing years, his cat-like eyes sometimes took on a far-away wistful look.  Perhaps in his misty dreams he could dimly see the mill near Marchiennes where he was born, by the banks of the Scarpe amidst broad, wind-swept meadows.  Something used to burn high up in the air, a sort of huge lamp, but his animal memory could not quite recollect what it was like.  And there he stood shakily on his old legs, vainly trying to remember the sun.” (Zola, 68)


Today, on the top floor of an abandoned dormitory, Bataille rests.  Each morning, the sun rises in the window above his head and bathes him in light.

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The above image is documentation of a performance held at sunrise on the longest day of the year during which sections of Germinal were read to an audience while they cuddled Bataille as the solstice sun rose

Brief excerpt of the reading on June 21, 2023 at 5:37 AM 

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