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A leap of faith into the Devil's Frying-Pan: Cliff jumping -- extreme research/existential art

By Dr Patrick Laviolette
Anthropology

long live the dance in the whirl of the infinite;
long live the wave that hides me in the abyss;
long live the wave that hurls me up above the stars.

This passage by Søren Kierkegaard provides an apt preamble to a photograph about cliff jumping,
especially because the quote is from his book entitled 'Fear and Trembling' (I843). Fitting because the
sensations of fear and trembling are an important part of the experience of staring down at waves
that crash against the rocks while contemplating, from high above a cliff face, the idea of leaping into the sea.
The Devil's Frying-Pan is a locally famous cove near the most Southern tip of Cornwall's Lizard peninsula where
young people face this existential struggle all the time. Indeed, for my cliff jumping informants, the Pan is a quintessential
cliff jump in the area. Here the body, landscape, leisure and death intermingle.



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