So with this project, like most, as you get into the making things start to change as they need to change to address the constant questions and considerations you face. Today we are starting on what is called in the proposal the “2nd stage”. It was originally going to highlight the native/indigenous population’s portraits. Now, for a variety of reasons, that doesn’t seem like such a good idea.

As we have embarked on actually making the project and object, and as we react to Lori’s visits in Visalia, we’re feeling there are some problems with the planned course we had for the 2nd stage.

Originally, we had conceived the Native Population on the second stage as a way to acknowledge the primacy of these original harvesters on the land. Now we are concerned that this may read as a separation, may feel to some more like segregation or afterthought instead of honor and primacy. Worse yet, it might read like a kind of reservation, and that’s not going to work. Consequently, we are going down an alternative path.

We decided earlier, right after Lori’s return from Visalia to mix the Native American population in with everyone else in the main stage of the piece. This makes sense under our umbrella notion of every neighbor in one tent together. It also reflects Lori’s experiences out in Visalia and incidentally my own experiences growing up in Minnesota. With the Native American portraits now included with the others, we now need to figure out what to do with the 2nd stage. Suddenly, with the clock ticking we have a spare room in our project that must get used.

Conceptually the 2nd stage has always been reserved as a space for the primary, the land,  the origins on which the rest resides. If the ‘main stage’ is a carriage then the 2nd stage is in the position of the horse that pulls it.

The ‘main stage’ is a morph between house, tent, theater and carriage. It is on wheels that suggest comings and goings—rolling in and rolling on. So the 2nd stage, as it develops,  has now become a simple horse at the head of the Carriage. But we are not interested in making a horse and Carriage, that’s too literal and puts the emphasis on all the wrong things. So the Horse has become a table, a table rooted with feet, a basic plane on which a meal is laid out. The table is the horse, the horse a table. We have decided today that this horse is the native plant and this table is the plants we have brought to grow. Growing in a community on the land, this is the force that pulls us forward, a community of natives and imports.

Lori will now be painting plant portraits for the 2nd Stage along with the human portraits. I think this is great, Lori’s paintings of plants are among those I admire the most—in fact just last night I was realizing how much her plant painting Procession had influenced my part of this project. 

The table will be set with plants.