Where I Lived and What I Lived For
Video for Domaine De Kerguehennec
I was asked to do a residency at an art center in Brittany, France called Domaine De Kerguehennec that is located on an old estate in the country. I spent about a month every Summer there for about three years. The whole thing concluded with an exhibition in 2006 made up of some of my older work and several new projects that I made specifically for Kerguehennec, including a sculpture for the sculpture park, a newspaper, a calendar, and a video piece. The video is called Where I Lived, and What I Lived For and is based on text from Walden by Henry David Thoreau. As most people in the US know (but as it turned out not so many in France) in the late 1800 Thoreau lived in Concord, Massachusetts, and was very critical of modern society. As a project he moved to the country by a lake called Walden Pond, and built a cabin there that he lived in for a year or so while he thought and wrote. The book Walden is about that experience, with a large dose of his philosophical views added in. During my visits to Kerguehennec living in a little stone cottage for a month at a time, largely cut off from the outside world, I was reminded of Walden. I decided to construct a piece in the same way that I made Blot Out The Sun, a video based on Ulysses by James Joyce that I shot at Jay’s Quick Gas here in Portland a few years ago. In both cases I read the book, highlighted passages that intrigued me and then wrote those pieces of text onto cue cards. I then asked people at the gas station, or in the case of the Walden piece, down by the lake at Kerguehennec, to read the lines while being video taped. I liked the idea that people come to the park at Kerguehennec to get a small dose of removal from society, and might in some small ways relate to the ideas expressed in Walden.