In Fragments is largely about tending to the past — metabolizing the historical detritus of a challenging life situation to create a fertile compost that can nourish a more positive and generative future.
In Electric Webb, twenty-seven words were etched on the lightning transformers that power the new “energy grid” at High Acres Farm — articulating the qualities that we hope will help to shape the future story of our land. Yet the specific details of that story are left mostly undefined, as a kind of narrative Tabula Rasa.
To help us “seed” that new story, we invited 108 friends, relatives, teachers, and other guests to join us for a three-day gathering during the 2021 Fall Equinox.
After a festive welcome dinner, the children in the group led us all in a lantern-lit procession through the hills, woods, and fields of High Acres Farm, and down to the beach at the edge of the water — as the Full Moon was rising on the eastern horizon.
Points of light
This moonlit walk was a chance for everyone to begin to feel into the land, to meet the lake, and to begin nurturing their own unique relationships with this place.
The following day, Kim Krans and Schuyler Brown, led the group in the creation of a “nature mandala” deep in the High Acres Farm woods, at the site of the old “dump,” where decades of waste had been stashed and forgotten.
Among old liquor bottles, rusted barbecues, metal coyote traps, and dog cages, there were four large plastic sections of an old satellite dish that was used by my family in the 1980s to watch television, but then uninstalled and forgotten with the arrival of cable TV in the 90s. The quadrants of this old satellite dish were stacked in a pile, its signal symbolically scrambled.
Kim and Schuyler directed the group to unstack the pieces of this dish and align them with the four directions, each of which was then assigned a particular color (red, yellow, green, and purple) and everyone set about gathering items from the forest that matched each of those colors. After an hour, the group had created a beautiful offering that mixed freshly picked items from nature with the previously forgotten detritus of the shadowy human past.
Deep in the woods at the exquisite @highacresfarm there is an old junk yard. This is typical for a working farm: a place to dump old machinery and bottles, broken cages and car parts. Much like the unconscious of the individual... a place to put the unwanted detritus of life and psyche. To reclaim that place and contribute to the epic healing of the land happening at this slice of heaven on earth, we gathered to make a mandala. Bringing beauty into that forgotten space, we reclaimed an old satellite dish and broadcast our own desire for healing and wholeness into the universe.
On the second night of the gathering, we invited guests into the hayloft of our old “Red Barn” (the space in which Hall of Mirrors had been performed exactly six years before, and See Glass exactly two months before) to witness the premiere of the twenty-one films from In Fragments.
Introducing Red Barn
The week before, we’d done a deep clean of the hayloft space, removing over sixty pounds of dirt, and power-washing every inch with hundreds of gallons of water.
The entry room of the barn — with a photograph from the 1950s
At one end of the space, we hung an old hand-stitched “Red Barn” banner from the 1800s, which I’d discovered in 2008 at a flea market in Brooklyn, and which I’d been traveling with ever since, awaiting the right moment to use it.
Just before the film premiere, we gathered on the grass outside the barn for a group photo of the nascent ”Linestone Community”.
Just before the film premiere at “Red Barn”
As guests reached the top of the scaffolding stairs, they were given letterpressed programs for the evening’s premiere, before crouching down through a low hay door and stepping into the cavernous space. The newly-cleaned room was filled with around a hundred different chairs, one or two chairs from each local guest.
Introducing In Fragments
A large projection screen was standing at the eastern end of the space, and at the western end, a Shaker table with the “Electra” typewriter from Electric Webb.
After the screening, guests were invited to use the “Electra” to type their reflections onto old sheets of High Acres Farm stationery.
From after the films
Throughout the night, with the old hay doors open to the cool outside air, my mother’s silk scarves were gently swaying in the light autumn breeze.
The following morning, we gathered again around the stone cairn that we had initiated together after the first night’s opening dinner.
Everyone had been asked to bring a stone from wherever they live, and in exchange, were given a small glass bottle of silica powder — a remnant of the crushing process from Apprenticeship that produced the glass in Phase Change.
Guests were invited to speak into this silica powder something they sought to release, and then to give the spoken powder as an offering to Lake Champlain, filling up the empty bottle with lake water.
My father pouring his silica powder into the lake
Then, everyone was invited to take a small handful of colored marbles from my mother’s childhood collection and wander into the landscape here, planting those marbles in the ground as “seeds” with their hopes and dreams for the future. Then they used the water from their little bottles to irrigate their newly planted dreams.
Seeding the future
Finally, everyone was invited to fill up their bottles once more, this time with soil from the land, to take home and use a kind of fertilizer for whatever they wish.
Now, looking out over the High Acres Farm landscape, we can sense the presence of hundreds of hidden glass marbles, buried in the ground here, holding the precious hopes and dreams of our growing community.
As this place becomes more and more energetically fertile over time, these planted dreams will be nourished by that evolving fertility, growing here in our soil — now a farm for imagination, the most precious crop of all.
Just as we began this quiet closing ritual, a rainbow appeared in the western sky, arching over the lake and the mountains.
Special thanks to Ssong Yang for acting as the on-site producer for this multifacted three-day event, working her magic to ensure that everything unfolded smoothly.