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FARMERS DREAM

Ernesto Pujol’s durational performative work is influenced by German choreographer Pina Bausch, Zen Buddhist notions of deep presence, American writer Rebecca Solnit’s meditations on walking, and contemporary performance art’s site-specificity as communal portrait painting. Farmer’s Dream took place in the Salina Art Center’s Warehouse for 10 hours, starting at sunset, on Sunday, May 23, and ending at sunrise, on Monday, May 24. The public came and went freely. Sound artist Rosi Hayes and poet Lori Brack sang, spoke, and were silent throughout the hot but breezy night. Performers Aniko Safran, Carla Duarte, Kate Lindholm, Priti Cox, Colin Roe Ledbetter, Ernesto Pujol, Paul Lindholm, and Michael Handley, all dressed in white, sat along opposite sides of a barn table like a Shaker community, the men separated from the women. Throughout the Shakespearean prairie summer dream, the performers rose, selected antique farm tools and domestic utensils from the loaded table, and walked to imaginary fields where they metaphorically farmed the industrial concrete floor, plowing, planting, watering, harvesting, and burning repetitively. The freight train rolled by and they waved it goodbye. Their archaic tools elicited subtle and dramatic gestures that conjured bodies from vanishing ways of life once close to the land. The piece had no narrative arch; it consisted of dozens of moments, ending with the humble disappearance of the small community. And later that morning, many Kansas women awoke and noticed, for the first time in 100 years, that their lives were full of ritual, and more than one found herself performing at a family table, daydreaming of farmers dreaming.