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is a publication that explores topics of contemporary making outside of the metropolitan audience. social practices as they relate to rural communities. intervention in your neighborhood. collaboration with your family. an exploration of space & place as it relates to the outskirts and the hinterland. an exploration of space & place as it relates to our nuclear communities, our neighbors, and ourselves.
volume i spring 2010
small towns are for big ideas. open spaces never close.
meadow starts with p nik meisel: owers for chance sidewalk jason ferguson: masterpiece johnnie runs sideways claire bow lisa lipton: the kitchen booth monique besten: soep/soup bonar family residency program network of domestic spaces kirsten bauer: the art of dying
monique besten amber phelps bondaroff railroad tracks jason ferguson: koe collaboration alice virginia mcclain david herbold shauna gauthier ed dadey: creative urge hanna clark mary rothlisberger lauren mccleary claire bow
we sit still. we set the table. we move. we rearrange. we play. the living room. the backyard. the sidewalk. the kitchen. the places we were born. the places we will die. the home. the mom. the dad. the kids. the neighbor. the new friend. together making. us.
a collection of makers who work intentionally within their communities. making art is making friends. making art is making believe. making art is making dinner. they create by connecting and explore the concept of family by inviting the whole neighborhood in for a cup of tea.
LIVING ROOM STUDIO
For the past two years, I have been the primary caregiver of my two young children. This means that I spend at least twelve hours per day cleaning, policing, making macaroni, administering cartoons, and overseeing various brushing and wiping activities. In the moments between, I have had the opportunity to witness and engage in free play. My artistic practice has always embodied a playful attitude, with speci c references to toys and games, as well as a propensity for collaborative or community play. As such, I was prepared to engage my parental role with speci c sensitivities to play and contemporary art. Naturally, our play activities as a family began to embody a creative attitude, especially with the introduction of structures (material, time, space) and documentation. The living room of our Seattle home became the primary site for our playbased art practice.
With several balls of cream-colored yarn, our living room, and one hour of working time, Andrew, Angel Brain, and Snake (then ages 31, 3, and 1) embarked upon our rst project. “Decorating for Mommy” was an attempt to make the room special for my wife, diligently pursuing her master’s degree. The result was an hour of noise, focus, wrap, tangle, snare, cry, laughter (repeat). Obviously a success as an afternoon of play-time and (from my art-trained perspective) an installation. My wife was impressed and happy (I think).
DECORATING FOR A PICNIC
MEADOW STARTS WITH P
This activity proved to be a positive experience for the kids, so we developed our behavior into a pattern of “doing projects” once a week. I decided to formalize our actions, and we discussed naming the group. “meadow starts with p” is an excerpt from one of Angel Brain’s playful mini-monologues, and was adopted as our name. From our initial living room projects the group spread out into the public sphere, doing several impromptu projects in parks and public green spaces. With an interest in collaborative play, we began to invite friends and the public to participate. When we work collaboratively, we do so through personal interaction. Instead of utilizing mass communication, we approach people oneto-one, keeping our process low-key and spontaneous.
DINO ISLAND PERFORMANCE
In the spring of 2009, we participated in an artist residency at Elsewhere Collaborative, in Greensboro, NC. Our attitude and working method meshed nicely with Elsewhere’s passion for curious play. While there, we advanced our play/art inquiry by assisting in the curation of the museum. Essentially a slice of American culture from the 1940’s through the 1990’s, Elsewhere’s collection proved to be an absolutely wondrous material resource. Rarely did we move beyond the toy collection. We call the place, “The Toy Store” .
Our practice began in our home and continues to thrive within our domestic lifestyle. Despite branching out into the public, our working methods and aesthetic character maintain the spontaneous quality of the rst projects. Our domestic attitude involves engaging a space playfully, con dently, and respectfully. While in the public sphere, we commonly work in areas not speci cally designated as “art zones” (i.e. galleries, etc.). Therefore, our behaviors and materials usually exist outside the norm. Our standard procedure tends to progressively nullify the usability of a space by making it an unnavigable, tangled web. After commanding a space for an hour or two, we have a snack, and then remove the material, restoring the space to its pre-project state. In a sense, we live there for a short time. We own it, confuse it, and then clean it up, like we do at home. The main difference between a public project and a living room project is the lack of cartoons afterward. I am a father, an artist and an educator, these roles co-mingling. Our work within MSWP is certainly in uenced by my roles and training, but the kids are equal when it comes to creating the work. The kids are free and con dent to assert their deliberate, decision-making capabilities. This usually means creation occurs as much as destruction. I have no interest in proclaiming that my children have a unique and specialized ability to create art. Quite the opposite. The core of our inquiry is the fundamental link between art and play. To be sure, my children are learning about art – but, like all children, they are born champions of play. That is where my learning process begins.
Since young children are directly involved, at least two levels of awareness exist, in terms of our theoretical and practical aims. The more complex level is concerned with the theoretical implications of creative play, and is able to appreciate formally and conceptually the goings-on within a critical framework. The more simple level is concerned mainly with having fun, which, indeed, is the backbone of our operation.
FRONT YARD DECORATING
PROJECT #17 OR SO
SOME OF THE THINGS WE DO IN THE LANGUAGE OF PLAY & THE LANGUAGE OF ART
Using the languages of play and art helps to identify the levels of awareness. For us, play is: make-believe; dress-up; play-doh; imaginary cities, castles, and houses for animals (beavers, rats, dinosaurs); drawing; decorating with string, yarn, and tape; astronaut training; indy racing; collecting sticks and rocks; piñata practice; piñata drawings; pushpins ‘n’ rubberbands; “music” noise, spoken, word; and the DoubleDeckerMouseBusTour. Simply put, we embrace the cycle of chaos and order within the din of childish abandonment, while appreciating the process and results as art. In art language, we work inclusively and collaboratively to make site-speci c, temporary installations, including the performance aspect of the group making the work and/or operating within the work. Formal considerations are dealt with spontaneously, and the work is complete when the fun ends. Often the resulting documents are photographs, videos, or sound recordings. Occasionally, some of the created objects survive as well.
DECORATING FOR MOMMY
I push the kid furniture to the perimeter and bring out several balls of cream-colored yarn. Immediately, the kids tear in, eager. “Whoa, whoa – let’s save some!” I implore. “Uhhh, can I have that one back? One at a time. One at a time!” Note to self: always keep a pair of scissors in the back pocket. Angel Brain unravels the yarn, while Snake puzzles over it. I help him pull out some length. Angel Brain deliberately trails strands of yarn across the room, wrapping them around doorknobs, table legs, and chair backs. Snake tries to walk, but is obstructed. He sits down and begins pulling rhythmically on the taut lines Angel Brain has made. Our dog gets trapped. He’s a good-natured old lab, so he simply stands there, looking nervous. I lift the yarn lines, releasing him into the backyard. Another note to self: remain on high strangulation alert. I assist by tying yarn to pushpins high on the walls and in doorjambs. Angel Brain throws the ball of yarn, so that it trails a line as it ﬂies. I catch on, mimic her, and hand a yarn ball to Snake. I encourage him. He throws it with a chubby arm. It lands nearby and I retrieve it. He loses interest, and goes back to tugging on the yarn. Click, click, click goes the camera. Angel Brain pursues her highly-focused industry. Snake continues to jostle the taut tangle, increasing his activity until he’s yanking with violent arm jerks. Peals of laughter. The entire web– a low plane of intersecting strands, pulses forcefully. Angel Brain joins in, focus shifted. Now, a new game: Twist, twist, tangle, tangle, “Help! Daddy, help!” Angel Brain yells. I snip, and untangle. They twist and re-tangle. “Help!” giggles Snake. “Daaaaaaaaaad!” Snip, snip, snip. Digging into my daddy repertoire, I desperately ask, “Who wants a cartoon?” “Meeeeeeeee!” both kids shout, wriggling out of the tangle, casting off bits of yarn. Snip, snip, snip, wad, wad, wad. Our ﬁrst project is done.
LEPRECHAUN PARROT PARTY
“This is where we’re doing our project. What do you think?” “Are we going to the barn?” Angel Brain asks, curious about the plan. “Yes, but we have to do the project ﬁrst. Should we bring in the stuff?” “Ok!” both kids chime. We make several trips to the car to bring in the drawings, yarn, tape, and kid chairs. “You guys work on this while I put the letters on the window… Hey, don’t peel that off!” Several minutes of quiet activity. “Dad, will you cut this for me?” Angel Brain holds up some mint-colored yarn. “Dang it!” I say, half hushed. “I forgot the scissors. I can use my key, see?” “Dad, will you cut this for me?” she asks again. “Will you cut this for me? Will you cut this for me? Will you cut this for me? Will you cut this for me? Will you cut this for me? Will you cut this for me?” We ask our friend Charles for some scissors. He brings them. “Now be careful, those aren’t kid scissors!” I warn. “I will, Dad,” Angel Brain asserts. snip snip snip snip snip Referring to a colorful wad of yarn, I ask Snake, “Where does this go?” “There.” He points. I climb up on a kid chair to hang it from the ceiling. “Where does this one go?” “Over there.” “[Snake!]” I whine. “Why’d you dump those out?! Now there are pins all over the ﬂoor.” “I can pick them up!” Snake responds, ready to help. “Be careful.” “Owee!” *Sigh* Snake and Angel Brain begin to remove their shoes. “Keep your shoes on. There are pins on the ﬂoor…” I change the focus, “You want the balloons? Let’s go ﬁnd the balloons.” “Ok, Dad,” the kids chime. We go out to the car. Snake begins ringaround-the-rosie, encircling a young tree near the street corner. Angel Brain quickly joins in.
Exuberant giggling aids in propelling the excitement and the radius of the circle into an outward spiral. “Hey, Hey! DON’T go around the corner!” I bark. “We’re going back inside.” “I found the balloons!” We get the bicycle pump. “Ok [Snake], you hold the end of it and I’ll pump it up.” I inﬂate the balloon, and then begin to tie it, but Snake has a different idea. “Nooooo! I want it.” “You want it to ﬂy?” I ask, knowing the answer. “Uh huh!” *ffppbbtbtbppbt* Laughter. More balloons, more ffppbbtbtbppbt, more laughter. Meanwhile, Angel Brain is poking holes in an umbrella with a push-pin. “You want me to pin that up?” “No, Dad.” Snake loses interest in the balloons and becomes curious about Angel Brain’s activity. “[Snake]! Stop it!” Several seconds pass. “[Snake]! Stop it!! [Snaaaaake]! STOP IT!!!” Brief chaos and ﬁghting. “OK OK! STOP!” I quickly change the activity. “I have a game: Take this ball of yarn and throw it over these lines that I stretched up here.” Several minutes of busy activity. Giggling. “Can I hang? Can I hang?” Snake requests, arms emphatically stretched upwards. “Um, you can try, but it won’t hold your weight.” Attempt. The yarn pulls down. Attempt. Pull down. Now there’s a new game. Pull, giggle, pull. (How fast can I put this stuff up?) Squealing giggles. Angel Brain is focused on wrapping fuzzy, white yarn around the handle of the umbrella. Snake goes to help. “[Snake]! Quit it! [Snake]! Quit it! [Snaaake]! Quit it!” I intervene. “[Snake], come over here. Do you want a castle? I’ll build you a castle.” “Uh huh.” I encourage Snake to exit through the short tunnel we made. Wanting to save some balloons for later, I hand the bag to Angel Brain. “Are we done?” I ask. “We need to get outta here. Are we done?” “Yeah!” Angel Brain exclaims before dumping out the balloon bag on the windowsill. “Why’d you dump that out? … Ok, that looks good. Let’s go.”
a series of interventions where communities reclaim their space. it began in nickolus meisel’s backyard where his neighbor chance (he is a dog) had left a number of gifts throughout the winter. these gifts were ﬂagged prior to cleanup to create a site-speciﬁc chance directed drawing. http://ﬂowersforchance.blogspot.com/
Collaboration has always been a major part of my process as an artist. My work over the last few years has focused on the use, or misuse, of common occupation to develop conceptually driven works of art. Working within the realm of academia has a orded me the opportunity to collaborate with professionals and scholars from a wide range of disciplines. For example, I have worked with a group of dairy farmers in the Netherlands to develop a site-speci c installation using agricultural techniques. I’ve even worked with a pathophysiologist on human cadavers, then used what I learned in post-mortem examination to generate works of art. Although I am happy with the outcome of these projects, only recently have I developed a relationship with a life-long collaborator: my son, Beckett.
Beckett Andrew Ferguson was born on December 31, 2007 at Grittman Medical Center in Moscow, ID. An artist by nature, his rst performance was arriving nearly six weeks early. His mother and I were nowhere near ready for his arrival, however, we didn’t have much choice. In the relatively short time that Beck has been a part of my life, he has been my educator and mentor. I can sincerely attest to the fact that Beckett’s mother and I have learned more from him than we have o ered.
Hour by hour, Beckett seems to sponge from his surroundings, remix, and reintroduce his newly acquired knowledge in a unique and expressive form. He embodies all of the qualities that I attempt to instill in my students. He exhibits a high level of ambition, generally taking on projects larger than his thirty-inch high frame; he has an impeccable work ethic and an acute attention to detail; and when the decisive moment presents itself he makes an informed choice without failure. Beckett’s most recent undertakings have been a series of stacked sculptural installations throughout our home in Moscow. His obsession with stacked objects began a year ago, rst using traditional objects that were meant for stacking like wooden blocks and LEGO Duplo sets. Only since his second birthday has he moved on to more complicated compositions in which he combines objects of various
materials, colors, and sizes using only gravity as adhesive. Beckett is a methodical artist. He spends a great deal of time collecting and sorting objects by color, size, and shape prior to beginning a project. Once he is satis ed with his collection, and he gives the coveted nod of approval, he goes to work carefully selecting the ideal foundation and working his way up. With unbreakable focus and unhindered determination, Beck skillfully stacks the objects; interlocking appendages from name brands like Playskool, Hasbro, and Fisher-Price. Far more contemplative than his father, though being contemplative is my occupation, Beckett will lower his eyebrows, tap his chin in thought with one tiny nger, then in a eureka-esque moment he will make the nal mark. My role in the collaboration as of now is merely to observe and document. His method is truly exploratory and I envy his process of discovery.
Our ongoing collaboration will proceed as it has for the time being. Beckett will compose and I will document. In the near future, however, I intend to take our collaboration one step further. I will be making large-scale works using Beckett’s stacked compositions as a guide. Our partnership and process will change as we move forward creating works together. As an artist and educator I can genuinely say that nothing amazes me more than my son. He is the thought-provoking and intuitive artist that I aspire to become. Jason Ferguson Assistant Professor of Art & Design University of Idaho www.jasonjferguson.com
Today I bear my cross. ok so it’s only a basketball hoop.
Placed in the middle of a busy sidewalk it functions as an “I’m too busy” interrupter. a liminality eraser..
Nothing like passing a suit a ball to help him realize how hard he works to be miserable.
deadwood, north dakota
make your reservation with email@example.com
buy the biggest kettle you can get rent an industrial burner * invite as many people from your neighbourhood as possible ask them to bring an ingredient for soup an onion maybe, a pepper or some carrots from the garden tomatoes, herbs, a chicken leg, a piece of undefined meat from the freezer a pinch of salt, anything will do fill half of the kettle with water boil the water wait for your neighbours and your neighbours’ neighbours throw whatever they bring in the boiling water if it is too big, cut it in pieces first and let it simmer for an hour or so stir the soup whenever you feel like it eat the soup together with everybody present * if you expect vegetarians, get yourself two kettles and two burners. divide all ingredients between the two kettles. throw the meat in only one
(Improvise when necessary. When I an artist residency in Kolderveen Netherlands- one of my neighbours of her own cows a few days before boiled it a day earlier to make a made this soup during - a small village in the brought me some meat from one the coocking/eating event. I nice stock for the soup.)
An Academic Inquiry into Home-based and Daily-Life centered art installations, performances, and interactions
Scholar of Community Engagement within the Ultra-Local Locale
This work is about the idea of Ultra-Locality: neighborhood- and family- based collaborations set within the Everyday Life environment, in front of a Background of Mundanity. This paper seeks to explore, formally, the ideas and outcomes of such locally-based art production and curation, and its validity as a form of High, yet Low, Art.
The author explores artwork made by non-artists, and artwork involving non-art-materials. The author explores how everyday living can be considered a performance and installation. The study inquires as to how an object gains associations and connections to a location, often with emotional or personal weight. Thesis argument concludes that through consciousness - conscious placement of object, or cohesive recognition of histories of object - an everyday assortment becomes an Art Installation. Carrying the consciousness of the artist and curator within each individual creates the experience of everyday life as an ongoing art performance. Mundanity and Randomness is elevated to a insightful level of intentionality and creativity.
This inquiry took place within the artist’s childhood home in the hometown where she grew up since the age of 11. The thesis was written at month four of an ongoing residency. The methodology of the study required the artist to engage in many inquiries and experiments regarding Ultra-Local Installations and Collaborations. Primary of the many inquires were two collections, the “Installation-A-Day” and “BusinessWoman” projects. These inquiries employed some of the following basic methods of Ultra-Local Art: “Placing an object in a location/position where it does not usually belong.”; “Critically evaluating habitual groupings or habitual actions”; “Grouping objects that have not been grouped before, often employing use of like-color, like-shape, or like-function in order to determine groupings”; “Utilizing Title Cards and Documentation to declare a situation, object, or juxtaposition an Art Piece”
Consequences of the findings of this study are that some could be lead to think, “Everything is Art.” In some ways, yes. But in many ways, Bad Art still exists. Some installations are more compelling than others. Some evoke more memories, tug on more heart strings, reverberate with more peoples’ understandings and passions and desires. The Artist argues that the level of Compelling is in direct relation to the level of Authenticity and Vulnerability the artist shares with the audience. This varies based on the amount of back-story revealed about the installation (objects used, location placed), the viewer’s personal history and culture, the seriousness with which the artist undertakes their practice, and much more.
Conclusions to draw from this study is that a truly innovative, local, personal form of art practice is emerging prominently in the art scene. It has always existed, but is in the process of being Officially Documented to be recognized and understood better by its practicers. This study is important in establishing this new form of art practice. By formally documenting this practice, accompanied by an examination of the underlying theories behind the work, creators are better able to produce it. Raising the levels of Compelling Art in the world will lead to higher levels of Inspiration and Personal Narrative Sharing. This in turn will lead to newfound understandings and revelations about the self and the objects surrounding individuals in their environments. A better understanding of the self will lead to a better understanding of the world.
Community, Neighborhood, Family, Art, Experiential Art, Collaborative Art, Installation Art, Participatory Art, Everyday Life
Appendix A: Installation-A-Day
This project involved the Artist creating at least one installation per day for the month of February. This project was documented online on the Bonar Family Residency Blog, and also on Facebook. The documentation legitimized and validated the installations as Art, and the online format allowed for feedback and exposure to a continent-wide group of followers, fans, and family. The project pushed the artist to continue creating even when lacking “good” ideas. The forced production speed generated a higher volume of work, each of which would be best considered “sketches” for future, more lengthy projects. This project also intimately explored the Artist’s own environments, objects, and collections. Primary among these were small plastic animal toys, glitter, sequins, toothbrushes, floating objects in bodies of water, and noticing pre-existing installations.
Torrey Arm Chair performance and installation documented by Jeff Bonar february 19 “Torrey Arm Chair” box from behind Pier 1, pool, me backyard
So Totally Chilled Out february 3 pretty hott lady, refrigerator, shelf kitchen, near the balsamic vinaigrette and the syrup.
Wintery Mix february 15 grains jars, dried fruit jars, sparkly polyester fiber-fill the grains cabinet, the kitchen
Beverages Purchased, Launch Postponed collaboration with Dan White february 7 (4:45am) 9 found empty styrofoam coffee cups, STS-130 launch complex lighting, 2/7/2010 scrubbed launch attempt Space View Park, Titusville, FL
6 Caffeinated Irishmen february 14 6 irish cream delight creamer containers (plus all the others) 7-11 George Bush Blvd, Delray Beach, FL
Lightning Fast collaboration with Joe Fenstermaker december 24- 26 car wax, size 600 sand paper, painters tape, newspaper, primer, neon spray paint, pink spray paint, gloss coat 1991 Nissan Maxima
Uniting Entire Worlds through Art a performance and installation february 28, 2010 3 ounces of Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean Abalone Cove, Rancho Palos V erdes, CA documented by Kirsten Bauer
Exploration and Documentation of Currently Existing Installations by Merrill Bonar & Sandra Bonar West Coast Senior Bonar Family Residency Satellite Program
Magical Cookie Jar Bubbie’s Cookie Jar, Azaela flower blooms, cookies the kitchen counter (in the Michael-friendly cookie jar)
Recycling Ongoing installation by Merrill Bonar paper bags, cardboard boxes filled with newspapers. Patio bench, near the back-door stairs
Coffee for Two, Always 2 coffee mugs, coffee pot, freshly brewed coffee Coffee counter, the Kitchen
Appendix B: “Business Woman”
This project involves the Artist performing as a Business Professional, going to work at 9am, making business cards and a professional website, leveling budgets, scheduling meetings, wearing “Business Smart” outfits, marketing herself to future employers, and beginning an inquiry into “Being A Grown Up.”
Appendix C: Lists
An inquiry into habitual and constant list-making.
ng N o acro ds to ne ss t he h ighbors acr all, and oss the acro ss t street he w orld .
NoDS is a series of artist residencies, existing in and about the private space of home. An art project, a social network, a travel tool, and a domestic experiment, NoDS aims to instigate and expose creative initiatives, happening within it’s members’ domestic spaces. Taking art out of established galleries, museums and artist-run spaces, placing it within the familiar terrain of “home,” making it accessible to larger and more diverse audiences and forming connections amongst participating members, online and on your block. NoDS is dedicated to the un-conventional and uninstitutional as space for artistic creation and display. Moving institutionalized artist residency into peoples homes serves forces all of us to reconsider the walls we’ve built up between the private and public. NoDS is for people who really want to get out there and see how and why other people are living. To make an art residency in your home, simply ﬁll out an application on the apply page. NoDS team of highly trained hamsters will review and process your application. Upon acceptance you will be issued a unique login and password for access to the NoDS site.
You will be able to create a proﬁle of your space with all relevant information. Your space will be listed in our searchable database, and when a resident is interested they will contact you directly to work out the details of their residency. NoDS isn’t here to dictate, restrict or conceptually mould your creative initiatives in any way. You establish the when, the where and the how, of your residency space. NoDS is here to share home happenings, apartment activities, condo circumstances and sublet situations with domestic devisors, closet creators and bungalow builders. We do have a few things that we’d like you to do, in order to make the whole NoDS experience make sense, and feel whole. First of all, as NoDS residencies take place in member’s homes we absolutely insist that each and every NoDS resident and host enter into the experience with mutual respect and excitement for the project. Secondly NoDS requests that for each domestic residency, the host organizes at least one event; inviting friends, colleagues and neighbors into their home to witness and participate in the visiting artist’s project. This process serves to expose projects, connect neighbors and instigate conversations amongst everyone involved. Last but not least, DOCUMENT! NoDS wants to see what you do and where you do it. NoDS provides all participants with personal blogs, to share written, visual, and audio documentation, as well as proﬁle pages to share links to the other things that you do. Thanks for stopping by, and NoDS to you. http://www.nodsproject.com
kirsten bauer is a visual artist & writer very much concerned with organizational curation, the telling of narratives, and everyday artistry - all seen through a cloudy lens of compulsive compassion. this winter she traveled to the outskirts of los angeles to complete what she labeled “a self-imposed residency”: intentionally taking time to slow down and live with her maternal grandparents. during this time she discovered, archived & participated in their day-to-day life, gaining a deeper understanding of her generational and artistic predecessors.
we walk. we seek. we saw. we see. we climb. we scale. we kneel in the dirt. we fall. we feel. we skin our knees. it seeps. it sews. it blows our minds. the mountain. the hinterland. the dry desert plateau. the green. the gold. the soupy sun. it makes us. it is. this land and we.
the following is a collection of images and words from makers who work in and with the rural landscape. they intentionally pair themselves with wide spaces and are inspired by its uncluttered intricacies. their curiosity leads them out from closed walls, their feet feel the earth, and their hands respond.
monique besten Stag, falling. Thirteenth tree from the right (small road leading to the village church). The original work includes a video of the drawing being made and a map with a walking route along this road. Kolderveen, Netherlands.
Koe: Collaboration in the
I had never been to the Netherlands before. Actually, I had never been outside of the country before. When given the chance to live and work in a rural community far from the multitude of tourist attractions one could visit throughout Europe, I jumped at the opportunity. Monique Besten, artist and cofounder of the organization Stichting Mista’peo, invited three American artists (Jason Ferguson, Christian French, and Mary Rothlisberger) to participate in New Riddles & Constellations 4 in Kolderveen, the Netherlands. Mista’peo is a forward-thinking organization that develops and presents contemporary art, experimental music, collaborative projects, and festivals. With emphasis on innovation and experimentation, Mista’peo was founded in 1997 and has since organized nearly twenty music festivals and several ambitious collaborative contemporary art
and music projects. With titles like Traveling Light, Borderlines, and Festival in the Shape of an Egg, Mista’peo has created a poetic means for expression throughout Europe. New Riddles & Constellations, one of Mista’peo’s ambitious contemporary art projects, had formerly been developed and presented at various locations throughout Amsterdam; including the Babylon Club, Saint Nicholas Chapel, and at the Retort Gallery. In the fourth, and most recent collaboration, Monique invited
American artists to develop an exhibition in a dairy factoryturned-exhibition space located in the traditional Dutch town of Kolderveen. The only instructions given to the artists in advance were that we were to arrive in Kolderveen with no preconceptions as to what we would develop during our stay, and that our projects would somehow respond to and involve the inhabitants of Kolderveen, Nijeveen, and Meppel. Koe, my contribution to New Riddles & Constellations 4, is a response to the agricultural landscape throughout the Netherlands’ northeastern province of Drenthe. The Netherlands’ landscape is divided into a series of dikes and ditches created to defend against the increasing threat of oods due to
the regions relation to sea level. During my two-hour train ride from Amsterdam to Kolderveen, I became increasingly interested in the segregated countryside and in the isolation of small herds of cattle on quadrants of land surrounded by water. Koe borrowed individual aspects from the Dutch terrain and presented the elements in a site just outside of the kaashal (dairy factory). The piece was site specific and isolated one live koe (cow) on one parcel of land contained by a single electric fence and surrounded by a handdug circular ditch filled with water. Video documentation was presented in the kaashal exhibition space on a monitor displayed atop a two-inch circular cut of sod from the ditch’s creation. This project could not have been accomplished without the support
of several dairy farming families in close vicinity to the exhibition space. Over the course of three weeks, I worked with three families in Kolderveen and Nijeveen to gain the knowledge, tools, and livestock necessary to complete the installation. The language barrier was di cult to navigate at times. I spoke no Dutch whatsoever and the individuals I worked with spoke varying degrees of English, however, the farmers and the community at large were extremely cordial, warm, and willing to help their foreign guests. I want you to put yourself in their place for a moment; a young individual that speaks not a word of your language shows up at your doorstep and through a series of hand gestures, drawings, and the complete butchering of the local dialect, despite the English/Dutch dictionary in hand, he asks you if he can dig a giant trench on your property and if he could, perhaps, borrow a cow. What would you
say? Although my requests were substantial and irrational, the locals not only o ered me a site and a live cow, one gentleman even allowed me to ll the circular ditch with water from a hose on his property. The privilege to work with a community that was as genuine, trusting, and warmhearted as the people I met in Kolderveen is di cult to come by. I hope, though it is unlikely, that I am given the opportunity to work with as helpful and open-minded a group again in the future. Koe was a gratifying and enlightening project. The piece was well received, the documentation came together beautifully, and the friendships I made in Kolderveen will never be forgotten. Jason Ferguson Assistant Professor of Art & Design University of Idaho www.jasonjferguson.com
alice virginia mcclain
photographs & poetry
alice virginia mcclain
photographs & poetry
rosebud reservation, south dakota
The creative urge is universal. The desire to express this impulse is as essential as the desire to love: to eat: to breathe. When the facts of us clutter and cancel our interpretation of life’s disarrayed journey and fate’s alchemical mysteries tug and stretch darkness over our dreams, we search for meaning in our lives’ elusive equilibrium with visual and narrative structures, to astound us with inspiration and joy as we stride against the gloom of our existence. We call it art and it is found everywhere over the earth’s wide round: in a city or on a farm.
THE CREATIVE URGE ed dadey director, art farm marquette, nebraska photography by claire bow
What we have here is a medium of exchange and contrary to accepted wisdom of exchange, it’s not going to be sold to you. It’s a gift from the mind and soul of its creator transformed in its giving, before the eyes and ears of its receiver, as an intangible collectable, adding to the common condition of human energy and hope.
Art councils boost and funders expect thousands of people to attend museum exhibits, dance recitals, theater productions, etc, and pass through the gift shop at the exit to buy the ancillary books, attractive reproductions, DVDs and postcards. Most people would say art is important for achieving quality in their lives, but the process of providing this art is closer to a corporate model of providing marketable items for distraction from living. Maybe the noble function of art could be salvaged by education, with its weapons of mass instruction, which would pull back the curtain, revealing the true fundamental nature of art’s meaning, pouring out graduates likely to object to the processing of artistic expression into machine-made mass media. Although, the departments of enlighten uplift have taken notes on this, they seemed not to have learned the lesson and shift closer to being grooming salons, where students learn the best styles that fit the fashions of funders or galleries. Andy W. gave every artist the hope of 15 minutes of fame; I think he would be thrilled knowing artistic success is yours when your name totals fifteen search results on the internet. It is this same education system and the supporting cast of galleries, concert halls and museums telling us that art is somehow sacred, divorced from all sakes other than its own, that we must prefer the theory of art to an unsophisticated delight in art itself. What are we left with in this confusion? As throughout most of our society’s history, we know that the meaning art brings to our personal lives is a manifestation of what is good, true and beautiful, but in this confusion, the conversion rate from private vision to public revelation seems only grasped by the extent of art’s value based on the amount paid. How do we draw sustenance and spiritual nutrition from artistic imagination? Maybe the food industry model offers a solution; a little bit of art added to everything, embedded in the products we see or hear and purchase daily, just as a little high fructose corn syrup is injected into everything we eat—sweet and subtle. Perhaps other, better, social innovations can arise to awaken many minds to the excited discovery of one artist’s vision, finding in each other the idioms they share, which in the end, distinguishes a work of art from the consumption of a product.
What you, I or others do on earth in the daily course of our lives, artists do on roof ridges above tree tops. This is not phenomena vulnerable to objective description and we have no admission of verifiable or replicable answers for why they are so inclined. Sometimes clues exist in their choice of expression, but often that expression is subversively uncertain and not a copy of the world made beautiful, as they register their raw footage of unedited experience and exceed our articulation. It doesn’t lend well to executive summary, but it can take you, I or others to a new destination: not a place but a way of seeing.
Like children, living in fantasies floating on fumes formed from fog, what we see is the discovery of our sense and state of being, transformed by something wonderfully incomprehensible.
hanna clark laceyville, pennsylvania
hanna clark laceyville, pennsylvania
hanna clark moscow, idaho
i have ideas of mountains
land from above, from the air, seems at once unbelievable and vast, yet manageable enough to hold in my hands. run a hand along with spines of hunkered down animal mountains.. peel up the shape of a lake and tack it to the wall. trace a pencil along the lines of roadways.. cover my bed with quilted farms. line up buildings like dominoes and watch them knock eachother down..
the walls of their world were made of shadows, sitting, i feel small, miniature beneath tall lanky trees, strange protrusions from the ground, experts in balance. needles fall as if choreographed. when looking down at the intersections and highways they make on the dirt, i feel big, giant. i am simultaneously miniature and giant.
my whole self is held captive in its presence.
the space between
neither here nor there
black hills, north dakota
kirsten bauer shauna gauthier
is a visual artist & writer very much concerned with organizational curation, the telling of narratives, and everyday artistry - all seen through a cloudy lens of compulsive compassion. firstname.lastname@example.org is currently pursuing a masters in counseling psychology at mars hill graduate school in seattle, wa where she lives with her husband and three daughters. she has a passion for people and seeks beauty in all things.
often exists inbetween things. she practices being here when she is not there. http://www.moniquebesten.nl/
lives in moscow, idaho where he is currently enrolled in the mfa program at the university of idaho. he splits his time between producing installations and foxtrotting down gravel roads. http://www.davidherbold.com/
is “ guring out her life” by making art out of her everyday environment, interactions, and relationships. she is exploring her home, her pasts, and her selves while creating new futures. http://www.aliyarosebonar.com/
is into monsters and magic, love and the tragic that goes on & on. mfa. halifax, nova scotia. email@example.com
is a photographer with an af nity for welldressed dogs. http://www.rouxby.com/
alice virginia mcclain
is a gardener on a biodynamic farm in pennsylvania. she believes in poetry, gratitude, the continuation of the honey bee’s existence, grace, and her goat, norbert.
looks forward to a continuation of her wandering in the west: crossing state lines to record transformations and discover that which remains unchanged. www.hannaclark.net
spends her days with plants & her evenings with projects and friends. she lives in a small town in the middle of a sea of rippling wheat elds. http://www.ponybird.com/
lives on a small farm in nebraska during the summer and in a big city somewhere else on earth during the winter. http://www.artfarmnebraska.org/
grew up in the small town of poolesville, maryland and has since been working his way across the country. he, his wife & his son currently live in moscow, idaho. http://www.jasonjferguson.com/
made his way from cloud county kansas to palouse country washington on the heels of a herd of wild buffalo. he writes haikus, builds clouds, and smiles. www.nickolusmeisel.com
meadow starts with p
is a collaborative family unit. they have fun. http://www.meadowstartswithp.org/
amber phelps bondaroﬀ
is a spatial navigator, a semionaut and a situationalist. she is interested in musical interludes, facial accessories, alliterations, and all things sweet. http://www.realmofreject.com/
is mostly bird. she likes making friends, building clubhouses, and shooting slingshots. t is for tenacious, tex. she’s thinking about running for mayor. p.o. box 364 palouse, wa 99161
palouse palouse press
lauren mccleary nickolus meisel mary rothlisberger
palouse palouse press is an editorial collective based out of eastern washington. using projects & publications to curate community within our rural landscape, palouse palouse press is committed to exploring and encouraging the intentional action of small-town social practices. we produce, publish, and distribute in the front yard, the kitchen, the town library, the post oﬃce, the neighbor’s ﬁelds, and the sidewalk on main street.
small-town social practices, volume one was produced mostly at mary’s kitchen table in the former site of the palouse creamery company at 310 east main street, palouse, washington. spring 2010.
to our friends that are family and to our family that are friends. & the town of palouse, the best place we’ve ever lived. really.
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