“What if migratory homes with autonomous systems for rainwater collection and food production were the building blocks of the city of the future?”
From March 13 – September 20, 2014 I was a participant, resident and exhibitor in Flock House Project: Omaha at Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, Nebraska. This was an exhibit and design/workshop extension of Mary Mattingly’s Flock House work and artist residency at Bemis Center.
Working in three stages gave me the opportunity to assist Mary Mattingly in designing, building and developing Flock House: Omaha as an extension of community.
1. Together with Mary and Bemis staff members I set up a documentation process to explore the idea of Flock House in the minds of visitors to the Bemis Center exhibit of her work. The exhibit that inspired this phase included
- Photographs of post-human life in the coming Anthropocene era,
- Sculpture shaped with twine using the “stuff” of Mary’s urban life,
- Photos and one of the actual New York City Flock Houses that moved for 14 day periods as 24-hour artist residencies on streets and in parks all five New York Boroughs,
- Publications and artifacts from the the design phase of the NYC and Omaha Flock House structures.
2. In my Flock House residency, August 6 – 16, I developed the Palimpsest Project by working with local artists and volunteers from the Community Support Agriculture program at Iowana Farm in Crescent, Iowa. We addressed issues from the ideas of Flock House that surfaced in the stage one documentation. The driving discovery was that most of the 60 visitors that visited the exhibit loved the idea of Flock House, but were not able to interpret it within the context of urban nature. Most visitors participating in the documentation situated Flock House in nature settings, not urban settings.
3. An exhibit at Bemis Center included our project artwork around the idea of Dreaming Urban Nature. We sought to reinterpret the urban landscape, particularly abandoned or underutilized structures, as growing areas and vertical gardens. Flock Houses were used as support structures in re-constituting green space as integral to urban living.
Documentation of the Flock House Project
Official exhibit description of Flock House Omaha Design/Build project
Mary Mattingly: Flock House Project: Omaha / A Citywide Workshop on the official website of Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts.
Flock House – Omaha, Documentation
Full documentation of Cynthia Gehrie’s pre-Palimpsest residency participation in Design/workshop data gathering. It begins with findings of the documentation process about the idea of Flock House, and works backwards into a complete record of all the data gathered from 60 visitors, documentation of the Design/workshop phase, and origins and development of the Palimpsest residency project.
The official record of all residencies in the Flock House in July and August. Because I was the final resident in, this archive begins with my Palimpsest Project that generated artwork as Dreaming Urban Nature.
Residency Report on the Palimpsest Project, Flock House Project – Omaha by Cynthia Gehrie
A summary write up of the residency process, up to and including the Flock House – Omaha resident’s exhibit, August 7 – 20, 2014 at Bemis Center in Old Market, Omaha. Comments by participants are included following the main body of text and photo.