Berkshire Botanics – 2019

Situating myself on a vast empty meadow surrounded by a circularly positioned audience of massive shedding trees – this became my chosen studio site for two weeks while an artist-in-resident at All Is Leaf in the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts – somewhere on a mountainous range between the Taconic and Mohawk trails.

A becoming ritual that required a bit more motivation as fall transitioned into winter far quicker than I had anticipated.   My proposed idea was to create a 100’ circle on a found site (part of a series involving the creation of 100 foot circles on different land masses, first ignited by a Lew Welch poem) – this one was going to be created as my observation center, from which I would remain still while listening and witnessing the Fall symphony.   However as below freezing temperatures brought snow and a quick change-over, I needed movement.  Reading Janet Board’s, “Mazes and Labyrinths of the World” and “Nature Performed: Environment, Culture and Performance”, I began moving and digging, and chasing the snow with lines of dirt and leaves – a labyrinth was emerging.

Strange things happen in the mind when digging the earth for hours at a time in below freezing weather.  The sounds became naturally binaural and amplified as my senses become hyperaware.  As I quieted my mind, through repetitive laborious movements,  a cacophony of frequencies presented themselves.  I was alone yet surrounded by non-ambience, minuscule accents of sound magnified and echoed.  I warmed my body within it with periodic tribal movements.

When my mind couldn’t remain quiet, I was flooded with thoughts – issues of privilege, boundaries, freedom, the earth and ways we dig into it day after day, unawareness led by greedy-ego motors digging for gold – the desire for speed, the need to slow down, slave labor, internet shut-down, government control.  Meanwhile the trees whispered and then shouted as they witnessed my erratic human behavior – digging out the earth for something unknown – a physical maze because the mind trap is not enough.  Unfinished it remained – for everything in nature comes and goes, reveals and fades, pauses as we flip the record, moves as the music plays on.  Remained was a human-made edge – a hundred foot trace for the deers to unite within and move freely without.