Developed through a 2021-2022 CFAR Project Incubator fellowship with the University of Oregon’s Center for Art Research and Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, the R.A.W. PostLibrary Generator (PLG) is a site-specific system that powers the PostLibrary in new ways, engaging with compost methods and seasonal creekflow. Designed to hold hot R.A.W. manure compost in contact with a local flow of cold water, the PLG system generates a small amount of voltage through a special thermoelectric compost-generator device created with UO Technical Sciences Administration and Knight Campus engineers Geordi Helmick and Clifford Dax. For more details and updates, stay tuned to the R.A.W. PostLibrary. . . .
The Haunted Pond (A Secretome Score) is an experimental score set in a video that gathers from a two-year, multi-seasonal performance and intergenerational collaboration located in a small pasture at the Rural Alchemy Workshop (R.A.W.) in Philomath, Oregon. In the midst of uncertain times and terrains, these playful encounters become the structure for graphic scores and durational performances, grounded in lived experiences of time and change within places we care for.
To further expand this ongoing collaboration, which began in May 2020, artists Jill R. Baker and R.A.W./Karin Bolender invite sonic responses and/or interdisciplinary proposals for time-based performances responding any elements of written and graphic scores contained in the video The Haunted Pond (A Secretome Score), created by Jill R. Baker. See full call for proposals below for more details.
The making of the Haunted Pond score began on May 5, 2020, when the team of artist Jill R. Baker and Fox (then age 6) performed a first creative encounter within the wildly green R.A.W. pasture. The Haunted Pond score draws on a Secretome “mapping” technique developed by the R.A.W. as an experimental method for co-composing stories with/in hidden ecological energies. The basic choreography invites participants to explore ecologies of specific places in new ways, through images of microscopic microbial cultures gathered within them. These images become both portals and “maps” that lead into deeper connection with places’ hidden layers. On this first May encounter, the R.A.W. PostLibrary at the edge of the pasture presented Jill and Fox with basic Secretome culturing tools (petri dishes, swab sticks, and an older Secretome pasture “map” made from the muzzle microbiome of one of its grazers). With these tools in hand, they entered the pasture and wandered amidst its more visible landmarks and hidden flows and presences. Allowing Fox’s playful exploration to generate instructions for a sequence of actions, Jill created a written score. The R.A.W. crew processed the cultures of the day into Secretome maps, which the kids were then invited to use as they might in the dry pasture and empty pond in the fall 2020 and beyond.
Created through playful encounters and sustained attention in the midst of uncertain times, The Haunted Pond (A Secretome Score) grounds in lived experiences of time and change in specific places. Over two years of changing seasons, we’ve continued to engage the written score, Secretome maps, and various modes of improvisation together in the R.A.W. pasture in different ways. The small manmade pond, which swells and then evaporates seasonally, is a source of special attention and attraction. Around the pond’s ever-changing edges and reflective surfaces, the work has continued to grow and evolve through unpredictable events and time-flows—smoke and fog, mud and cracked earth and ashes. The video made by Jill gathers from different occasions over springs, summers, falls, and winters, drawing on lines and flows made by local microbial cultures and the traces of children playing across rising and falling waters and moving shadows.
Within the reflections of time and shifting horizons of place at play in this project, we would like to invite others to take part in engaging this multi-year score. We invite proposals for experimental time-based performances (including but not limited to music, sound, dance, writing, visual art . . .), drawing on, responding to, or expanding any element of the written and/or graphic score–into other significant ecologies, durations, and sustained encounters. Intergenerational teams are encouraged. Please send questions and proposals in .pdf form to firstname.lastname@example.org
In November of 2021, the R.A.W. enjoyed a residency as the first fellow of the University of Oregon’s Center for Art Research/Knight Campus Project Incubator program. This residency took place inside the sparkling new Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, located on the banks of the old Millrace waterway across from the Urban Farm and the Millrace studio complex in Eugene. This program offers Oregon artists the opportunity to connect with the cutting-edge technical-scientific resources available at the Knight Campus, alongside artistic and scholarly nodes in the broader UO community.
This CFAR Project Incubator (CPI) presents compelling new directions for the R.A.W., which has always been grounded in messy, mostly DIY modes and methods. For the initial proposal, I put forth the idea of engaging Knight Campus expertise and resources to engineer a system to provide solar power for the R.A.W. PostLibrary, perhaps to run a video display (I was vaguely thinking of screening videos at night for passing wildlife, inspired by the neighbors’ trail-cam images of bobcats, mountain lions, and black bear, to name a few). But then a conversation with CFAR director Brian Gillis raised the specter of alternative-alternative power: what might some options be beyond solar? In considering this question – perhaps even while mucking out Aliass’s stall, where I tend to do my best thinking – the ultimate source of R.A.W. power presented itself as the perfect answer: the R.A.W. PostLibrary must be powered by manure compost.
So began an ongoing quest to transform the hot microbial processes of manure composting into a modest source of power for the R.A.W. PostLibrary. With technical and material support from the brilliant engineers in the UO Technical Sciences Administration and Knight Campus (Geordi Helmick, Jeffrey Garman, and Clifford Dax), engineering and fabrication are underway for an experimental compost-power system using thermoelectric-generating (TEG) components that *might* eventually generate a small amount of voltage through temperature differential between hot ass compost and cold flowing water from the R.A.W. pulping pond. I say “might” because many aspects of this system have yet to be determined–first and foremost being the question of whether I can get the R.A.W. compost hot enough to make a difference.
Many other technical and conceptual questions have yet to find solutions in this developing R.A.W. compost-power system. One of which is: assuming this system can generate and harness significant voltage (likely we’re talking between 3>5v, a big assumption at this stage), in what ways will the PostLibrary put that power to work?
This question has many rich possibilities for the R.A.W. PostLibrary. Needless to say, given the tendencies of R.A.W. processes to be slow as mud, it is one that we are more than happy to quietly ruminate on for some time to come. But stay tuned, because when and if this voltage does flow, you just might be privy to (cue up MonsterTruck Rally announcer’s voice) an awesome display of R.A.W. power . . . .
Excited here about a recent feature by William Kherbek on The Unnaming of Aliass in Berlin Art Link: The Bioerotic Universe: An Interview with Karin Bolender.
The R.A.W. is honored to be featured in the latest from the Morethanhuman Matters series of interviews with scholars, artists, and others engaging in more-than-human realms of study and practice. The series is presented by the wonderful anthropologist, Sophie Chao, on her morethanhumanworlds site. This interview touches on the recent publication of The Unnaming of Aliass by 3Ecologies/punctum books and on other new/ongoing projects, including the R.A.W. PostLibrary.
The R.A.W. and She-Haw are thrilled to have a little video called “She-Haw Rope Tricks” included as a part of an ecosex series called “Imagine the Earth is Your Lover,” curated by Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle and hosted by The One Minutes. The series premiered live at the Reykyavik Film Festival in September 2020 and then online worldwide in October 2020.
Here’s the trailer:
23 artists and filmmakers visualize their mad, passionate and fierce love for the Earth. They shift the metaphor from ‘Earth as Mother’ to ‘Earth as Lover’ in order to create a more mutual and sustainable relationship with the Earth. The videos were sent in from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Germany, Greece, Malta, Mexico, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom and United States.
Annie Sprinkle was a sex worker who was a pivotal player in the 1980’s sex positive feminist movement. In 2008, she got together with Beth Stephens and they came out as ecosexual. They aim to make the environmental movement more sexy, fun and diverse through art projects. Their work has been shown at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Venice Biennale, and Documenta.
Annie Sprinkle & Beth Stephens
PornProcess (Aurore Morillon)
Graham Bell Tornado
Joseph Kramer & Scarlot Harlot
Maria the Korean Bride
K-Haw and L-Haw
Sura Hertzberg & Hailey Jelaire
Lina Bravo & Rowena Buur
Muza de la Luz
Nicolás Dumit, Estévez Raful Espejo, Anna Recasens and Laia Solé
Misha de Ridder
Every two months, The One Minutes Foundation puts out a new series of 60- second films that investigate how we perceive and engage with moving image. Museums and cultural organizations around the world subscribe to the series.
Beginning on the bright morning/evening of August 31 and ending in smoky darkness on September 10, the R.A.W. was honored to take part in an exchange across time zones/oceans through a series of workshops at Kultivator in Sweden. These workshops were part of Explorations of Now — a collaboration of Kultivator, the Institute for Future Studies, and Cullberg.
The premise of the R.A.W. Mirror Shots exchange for Explorations of Now is a play on Wild-West sharpshooter Annie Oakley’s famous mirror-shot trick, in which she would take aim at a target behind her back using a handheld mirror. Standing in the moment, in the ashes of the past and present looking forward and backward at the same time, this trick aims to seek paths toward making better futures for all earthly lives. Through recorded voices, handwritten messages, and some still and video images, the R.A.W. made reflections in the here-and-now of the workshops at Kultivator as they unfolded, each over several days. See the Kultivator/Explorations of Now site and this wonderful video document for more on the workshops and the project:
As part of the marvelous Multispecies Storytelling exhibition and conference that took place in Vaxjo, Sweden, Kultivator and the R.A.W. collaborated in a project that invited aspiring multispecies storytellers to join us in a dusty, transoceanic co-elaboration of m<other tongue culturing amidst meshes of entangled companions, both seemingly familiar and wildly unknown. Beginning with a round-table gathering at Kultivator in Dyestad in the days before the conference, we came together in the barn for a multispecies meal and sharing of m<other tongue cultures with the farm’s resident horses, cows, human and canine visitors, and untold others in that lofty inclusive space. We then brought the assemblage of this gathering to Linneaus University in Vaxjo, where participants were invited to track and contribute to the growth of these particular m<other tongue cultures across various media–including embroidery along the lines of a beautiful tablecloth made by Kultivator.
This round-table collaboration explores different aesthetic and material ways of tracing untold (indeed, untellable) stories, as we cultivate unique attentive spaces for often-excluded and/or subvisible companions–not only big warm mammalian storytelling bodies but also the vital nameless spaces-between that brim with significant exchanges.
The R.A.W. is thrilled and grateful for this opportunity to collaborate with Kultivator and all who took part in this wondrous gathering in the barn. More on this to come!