Patching the American Farmland
Invited Distinguished Professor:
Gabriel Esquivel, Studio Professor
Texas A&M University
Team: Ben Schoenekase, Reuben Posada, Joey Reich, Steven Gideon.
The romanticized imagery of the American Farmland is a synthetic image that is no longer indicative of the realities of agriculture. Through the process of mechanization and innovation, the farm and the farmer have begun a transition from the original tradition of farming to the remote operation of machines and scientific discovery. This disciplinary shift from man to machine serves as the point of speculation from which our project is derived. Through the embrace of the physical and notional re-definition of the farmland, we investigated the normalized misunderstandings of “farmland” and the synthetic “folk” image as whole. Furthermore, by utilizing the operation of the “patch” as an extension of the folk, not folklore, we made the culturally foreign palatable and understood as the image of “farmland.” The farm is an ontological, mereological object that oscillates between variable registers of scale, agency and materiality that all coexist in a single act.
As the farm object works, each component exixts as its own ontologically independent object that denies logocentricism. Therein, each object exists and has existed as a figural known which forges the project into the ontological. By addressing limited land access, the machine in the garden, as defined by Leo Marx, is put into question as a progressive cultural movement where the definitions of farm and farmer are redefined. The farm-object now explores research, production, capacity and quality where it exists in limitation rather than destiny playing the role of judgment’s pass.
All components are non-hierarchical and non-mutually exclusive; therein, the object and the machine as a whole, seeks placement and advancement for the sole agent of plant growth and development which allows for the persistence of the term “farm.” On the other hand, the professional plant growing farmer lacks the former empirical knowledge and hands-on techniques that defined the occupancy, the farmer is now the drone operator, the secretary, the financial planner for the drone which now relies on the assumptive role of professional plant grower for mediating the biological gap between mammal and plant.
The world is not going to see a singular agrarian revolution, rather a cultural alignment with technology, society, and economy will allow for the drone farmers to permeate through the marketplace to redefine the farm as an agent of food production. Just as has adapted to technological booms from the domestication of animals to the scythe, to the cotton gin, to the steam engine, etc. The catalyst for the farmer is the access to controlled climates, vast resources and dedication to the almanac.