agrarian alienation

Land labour, the work for food and our contemporary relationship to this process has interested me since my Young Farmers project created in 2009. Below is a continuation of this investigation – 43 Head of Cattle: 2,570 Gallons of Milk: 10,278,400 Gallons of Water, a window installation at a ‘slow food’ restaurant in downtown halifax and works from  Preface: 2011 MFA Group Exhibition installation that included 4 works – Hay Bale, Young Farmers 2009 (audio), Nelson Smith, New Glasgow PE, Ryan Weeks, Springvale PE.

Hay Bale: I was working with ideas of labour and food – the labour needed to create the food our food will consume before it is ripe for our grocery stores – How we have ceased to care about the work of the land/creation of the object – Both hay bale installations provoke a romantic notion of food labour and farming.

Young Farmers (audio and photos): I am asking questions about the form of documentary, its power to create cause and its ability to appear truthful even when manipulated. Does the portrait elevate the status of subject? What happens when audio accompanies photographs? Both the photographs and the audio are of P.E.I. farmers under the age of 35 and farming in 2009.

43 Head of Cattle: 2,570 Gallons of Milk: 10,278,400 Gallons of Water: this was created as a memorial to the loss of personal connection to the production of food and the labour of our food bearing animals. I was propelled to created this self feeding ‘milk fountain’ hay bale memorial when I read a news story stating that dairy farms in Nova Scotia working 43 head of cattle or more were receiving government funding to upgrade their milking barns for the use of robotic milkers. Included in the installation was a QR code that would take smart phone users to a youtube video of the robot milkers in use.

Agrarian Monuments: this is current work in progress, investigating / exploring  notions of the pastoral.

-Becka Viau

“These Eclogues came.. to containe and enforme morall discipline, for the amendment of mans behauiour” – George Puttenham (1589) – Arte of English Poesie – commenting on the pastoral mode

Monument - work in progress - living sculpture / land art - Becka Viau 2013

Monument – work in progress – living sculpture / land art – Becka Viau 2013

“Truth is not to treat objects as alien”– Hegel.

43 Head of Cattle: 2,570 Gallons of Milk: 10,278,400 Gallons of Water – Chives Window Installation-  hay bales, twine, brass bells, plastic tubing, water pump, roses – Becka Viau 2011

…watch the you tube video here

“…the relations between men that lie hidden in the immediate commodity relation, as well as the relations between men and the objects that should really gratify their needs, have faded to the point where they can neither be recognised nor even perceived. For that reason the reified mind has come to regard them as true representatives of his societal existence.”

– Georg Lukacs, History and Class-Consciousness

Hay Bale – Becka Viau 2011 – hay bale, Granville Square

“Nothing is more hateful to me than photography sugar-coated with gimmicks, poses and false effects. Let me speak the truth in all honesty about our age.”– August Sander

Preface: MFA Group Exhibition 2011 – Installation Becka Viau – centre- Farmers 2009 (audio),  -left- Nelson Smith, New Glasgow PE,  -right- Ryan Weeks, Springvale PE.

Listen to a Clip from Young Farmers 2009 (audio)

Ryan Weeks, Springvale PE – Becka Viau 2009

Nelson Smith, New Glasgow PE – Becka Viau 2009

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