If our artists in residence Machine Project did one thing well, it was keep us busy: busy herding sheep for sonic experiments, busy recruiting reel lawn mowers for a choreographed dance on the field, busy making daily trips to the grocery store for a cornucopia of edible goods. I was one member of a the crew dedicated to finding everything they needed to make sheep amplification, communal bell ringing, and operas for dogs possible. Not even a Super Target could have saved us.
Over the last few months, I have helped prepare for these two weeks of program pandemonium; I am now a bonafide expert in research of the weird. Are you in need of a polygraphist for a public event? Would you like to hire a multiplicity of bagpipe ensembles in full Scottish Regalia (how else?) for an afternoon of dueling pipers? Or perhaps you need a dairy goat with film experience? Guess what? I know where to find all of these things and more.
Looking at the source list we compiled and recompiled, wrote and rewrote the final edition is relatively tame. 2 ride mowers? tackled in the blink of an eye. 50 lbs of bread flour? Child’s play. 100 push mowers with bells? Well, 100 was an optimistic goal. Ultimately we were pleased with the turnout. It was quite beautiful to watch the three teams of ten parade across the field after an overture of ride mowers had finished their whirling dervish dance of large scale circles on the field.
Is it possible to program a successful series of events with such an odd assortment of goods and services? I am here to tell you that it is! in fact, for the most part, things went off without a hitch and we were fully able to supply everything our artist friends needed. Not to say that mistakes weren’t made. For example, the 10 adult-sized beanbag chairs I ordered for Chris Kallemeyer’s piece Music for Parking Garages arrived just in the nick of time. Unfortunately, said chairs arrived sans stuffing. Why anyone would choose to sell un-stuffed beanbag chairs is beyond me. It must be to dupe people like me into buying said stuffing.
The most exciting part about reviewing this list to me is that the most benign articles were often those used in the most interesting ways. One would assume that the 40-50 small watermelons listed at the top are for congenial community consumption. They were indeed consumed, but not until after they had been used for sound amplification in an electric melon amplification workshop. The rinds were then commemoratively pickled in The World of Pickling workshop. What better way to remember the events of those two weeks than with edible fair to take home and share? It seems like there’s a metaphor in there somewhere but I think I’m done with locating for much of anything for a while.