My proposal for the residency was to examine and survey the 108 acres of farmland and do a species count and inventory. Because the month of May could bring any number of migratory and seasonal avian, insect, fungi and other transient species, the survey was always meant to be an incomplete starting point. This was the framework for an investigation of the site within one of my larger projects, Nemeton Studios. In development for several years, the work includes the resurrection of several acres of farm land into prairie oak savannah in Iowa and also entails investigative journalism work around environmental issues. The term is originated in the Druidic tradition, a nemeton is a sacred grove. Nemeton Studios exist in multiple spaces and can be anywhere in the world: in the woods, in the shower, in the city dump, in a school, in the clouds. Although it closely resembles the outdoor practice of plein air, Nemeton doesn’t situate the studio, it creates multiple settings and spaces for contemplation and reflection. It dissolves and redefines the borders of the studio. It is the silent space of a bell missing a clapper or an empty box about to be filled. It is a thaw, a dream, and an unconscious gesture. It is a meditative and latent space realized through practicing art.
In the end, my time spent at Residency 108 was a dual-investigation that involved the aforementioned survey, which included several audio recordings in addition to a series of responsive actions to the site based on territory and intimate space. Through a series of performances, I examined non-locality by presenting the landscape as a digital space. In the documentation that issued from these acts, my physical presence disrupts or makes strange the relationship between time, space and place.