In the first few minutes of arriving at a working cattle ranch in Colorado, I witnessed the birth of a calf. In the next 12 hours we would kill a coyote in defense of the calves on property and the second bullet shot was with a pistol in my hand. It is my intention to keep the polarity and cycle of life and death in close proximity. Reminding myself that this is all about production and consumption.
The calf’s mother was struggling to rear its child, so ranch hands Alex and Cody stepped in to assist with the birthing process, with a touch of unintentional violence. Watching this calf and the interaction it had with its mother on a cattle ranch was truly remarkable. I could not stop thinking about how this site was the perfect setting for another ONTOPO.
The sound of a coyote howling in the night could not be fairly reproduced with a recording device. Try to hear it IRL.
Time on the ranch was more than what I bargained for. I think back to these ideas I explored with the Last Weekend Project in 2013. I was taking a deeper look at the proximity of production and consumption: make food then eat it, make masks and clothes to wear to the ball that night. Learn how to vogue and then later compete: The Hollywood Babylon Ball was born! One of the best parties I’ve ever worked on and DJ’ed. Maia Ruth Lee and Julie Ho ran a costume making contest while Heidi Lee showed guests how to make origami hats. The House of Ninja ran the most incredible voguing workshop.
ONTOPO furthers the workshopping and experiential retreat idea by hosting future primitive pop-ups all over the world. How else can humans work the land? Being here on this cattle ranch opens a new potential for interpreting sites by the land that surround it. Land use and human function, at play. I dream of a medium that is beyond a performative or experiential work and its documentation. This trip is meant to survey and plan the next Ontopo. It is experience mapping slash event pre-production. Time and space are compressed here and I want to define a new interface – and have fun while doing it.