Even before approaching the red barn, with an open roof, standing four feet off the ground, audience members were given handmade paper treasure maps imbued with farmland: paper formed in a converted wheelbarrow, dyed with walnuts picked off the ground, baked twice, letterpress printed, mapped, and waxed with local beeswax. Each map was unique, tracking a different path on the farm with a method that reminds the cartographer to be present at each step.
The performance was a physical and symbolic inhabitance of a building that was foreign to this specific farm, just as the performer was. Winding colored thread, resonating a forgotten hayloft that was nearly torn down, testing the stability of floorboards with stomping feet, typing and lowering notes, and getting tangled in her own web: all methods of nesting and making safe spaces. Buried underneath her was treasure, covered with an old barn door and violin strings tacked and tied onto wood. The walnuts that dyed the paper hung from ropes, the barn was strung on the inside, and marked with handmade charcoal on the outside. These are the changeable things animals do to dwell in a place. Art Harvest at Art Farm, Marquette, Nebraska, October 2006. Performance duration: 1.5 hours, two showings.
Cameras: Ed Dadey, Chela Fielding
Editor: Cindy Lee
She Inhabits It Video