THE SAUNDERS' FARM PROJECT 2008
Field Signs (A New Farmers Almanac)
by Lise Prown
12 -16 unique freestanding metal signs on metal signposts. These look much like standard street signs but will connote rural superstitions, old wives tales and the iconography of omens. I want to emphasis the disconnect between modern life and our rural origins. These signs highlight the way humans assign meaning to the natural world (often in contradictory ways) in an attempt makes sense of biological realities.
These “signs” use words and images to reveal a web of meanings to show the relationship of familiar sayings and iconography that have their roots in our agrarian past. Topics of agriculture, environment, history and more are referenced in this installation. Planets, the four seasons, animals, plants, human behavior and other natural phenomena have generated historic superstitions that have similarities across cultures and regions. Using the strategies of modern graphic street signage to revisit primal humanfears that still have resonance in our fast paced urbanized society.
A few Agrarian Superstitions
Scatter Solomon's seal on the floor tobanish serpents and venomous creaturesfrom the room.
To protect your house from lightning, gather hazel tree branches on Palm Sunday and keep them in water.
Add caraway seeds to chicken feed to keep poultry from wandering.
Never carry a hoe into the house. If you do so by mistake, carry it out again, walking backward to avoid bad luck.
If you give a steel blade to a friend, make the recipient pay you a penny to avoid cutting the friendship.
Nail an evergreen branch to new rafters to bring good luck.
An empty hornets' nest, hung high, also will bring good luck to any age house.
History has it that Jan Peek was the man for whom the town of Peek’s Kill or Peekskill is named. Not much is known of this man but what is documented is tenuous and contradictory. This art project uses images and short historical references to create a portrait of this elusive Seventeenth Century man.