prairie plant

Western Rock Jasmine
Androsace occidentalis
Family: Primrose
Height: 1-4 inches
Flowering: March-May

dreaming kansas

Artist in Residence: Ernesto Pujol

April 29–May 27, 2010


Original Press Release -- After seven years on the road, artist Ernesto Pujol marks his return to Kansas as a Salina Art Center Artist in Residence at The Warehouse, 149 S. 4th Street, with a new site-specific project titled Dreaming Kansas.

Pujol’s art residency is part of his Field School initiative, a one-man art school that travels throughout the nation educating graduate art students in field work while collaborating with local visual and performing artists, plus experts from various disciplines. Pujol believes in a new American regionalism, less isolated and self-critical while preserving the best of our heritage—the evolved narrative that will connect us to global culture.

The artist will produce two free public art gestures: The first will consist of the Great Prairie Drawdown for children, youth, adults and seniors that will culminate at The Warehouse on Saturday, May 22, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. A panel of Kansas field naturalists will judge the submissions. Supported by a grant from the Good Works Foundation in Los Angeles, Pujol will purchase 1,000 drawings on reused or recycled letter-size paper for $1 cash each. His goal is that participants look for indigenous plants, insects, birds and other animals in Kansas, learning more about their ecology in the process. Pujol and a local designer will create a virtual online Field Journal of the Kansas fauna and flora illustrated entirely by the community. This event is undertaken in partnership with The Land Institute to promote awareness for the preservation and restoration of the prairie.

The second gesture will consist of a sunset-to-sunrise group performance titled Farmers Dream. It will take place all night in the open Warehouse starting at dusk on Sunday, May 23, and ending on Monday morning, May 24. Pujol is interested in durational performances because they evidence the passage of time. A group of silent performers dressed in white will sit across a large wooden table like a Shaker community, the men separated from the women, while the public sits around them. Throughout the evening, the performers will rise, select antique farm tools from the table, and metaphorically farm the industrial concrete floor that covers old prairie soil. In addition, poet Lori Brack and sound artist Rosi Hayes will voice words and hymns in-between moments of silence. The performance will start and end like a dream, with the humble appearance and disappearance of this small, poetic and ephemeral spiritual community of labor; a vanishing way of life.

Pujol will also give a lecture on Tuesday, May 18, from 2:00 to 4:00 pm, at the Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Lawrence.