Black Earth Productions
Black Earth Productions is located south of Ames, Iowa on the Black Heritage Farm site. This systemic set of constructs and corresponding ground provide a fertile terrain for the study of earth work and its associated atmospheric yield. It is a poly-valent environment in which perceptual formations unfold over time. The information contained herein are the result of a measured survey focused on the material and immaterial matter contained by the defunct seed drying operation which remained in production until 1983 and has since lay fallow. Exploring material culture in the context of a post-industrial environment, the documentation frames labor’s leftovers as a rigorously mechanized instrument with an accumulated capacity to captivate the imagination of a people.
The space of Iowa has been reinvented in the nineteenth century as a reflection of the modern rationality of capital production. Communities in Iowa continuously adapt to changes in the agricultural production processes. Since its start in the nineteenth century, this production process was lead by family farmers – a form of farming in which labor is supplied primarily by family members. Family farming has become a consolidated social symbol that Iowans are attached to which is based on a form of independence through private farm property and its production process. This form ofindependence is also translated through social distance whereby farmsteads are equally spaced across the landscape leaving ample fields between farming families. This sense of spatial and symbolic independence has largely defined the quality of life in Iowa. However, this spatial and federally advocated form of independence was associated with economic dependence on market forces, food industries and federal policies. Given that family farms have been consistently mechanizing and increasing production, the demand for more farmland has also been increasing, which resulted in ‘successful’ farmers purchasing production ground from other less successful farmers. This has made the family farmer’s space unstable as it is consistently under market competition pressure and trends of federal policies. This economic condition has produced spatial and communal instability because it has caused frequent reconfiguration in the living space. For instance, some farmers have rented their production grounds and continue to live on their farmsteads away from public services and employment opportunities that they have become increasingly dependent on. The impact of farming development has been even more apparent whereby vacant farm sites along the various roads are a common scene. 1
Black’s Seed Farm is one such dormant farm site in which a temporary body of work is being developed as part of an ongoing effort to examine the past character and future shape of Iowa’s inherited landscape. Current studio projects focus on the act of making and curating a series of research assemblies within a dormant seed-drying facility constructed in 1979 using experiential perceptions as spatial conditioners. This work might best be understood as a peculiar deposit of site-adjusted spatial phenomena that indicates the presence of, and makes clearly recognizable, its context as referent rather than source or setting.
1. Marwan Ghandour and Peter Goché, Guidelines for Spatial Regeneration in Iowa, (2007 AIA Board of Knowledge Committee).
Peter P. Goché
Peter P. Goché is a practicing architect, artist and educator. Goché works with the nature of perception and spatial phenomenon in developing his material practice. His works provoke a temporal-spatial encounter that understand the simultaneous and complex nature of cerebral and corporeal experience. He is co-investigator/author of Guidelines for Spatial Regeneration in Iowa funded by the 2007 AIA Board of Knowledge Committee. Goché has exhibited and lectured on his creative practice and scholarship at many conferences and cultural institutions throughout North America and Western Europe. As educator in the Department of Architecture and foundational design at Iowa State University, Goché holds both B. Arch and M. Arch degrees in architectural studies from Iowa State University. He taught in the Department of Art at Drake University before joining the faculty at the Iowa State University, where he coordinates and teaches design studios.