Stranger #02: One with the Land
A group of social practice artists spend two long weekends at the For-Site foundation in Nevada City, a prime city that housed major mines during the Gold Rush. The artists are there to create work stemming from the experience in and with the site. They are given 75$ each to complete their projects.
At a jewelry store in town, 75$ worth of gold flakes—mined and collected from that land—are purchased. A meal of beans soup is cooked, and each of the artists sprinkles the gold flakes over their soup and ingests the gold, becoming one with the land.
The work complicates the relationship between artists and the given context. It raises questions on their roles as visitors, as facilitators, as tourists, as hard workers, and as makers striving to establish a connection, a certain site- specificity and a deep engagement. If gold fever manifested—among various other forms—in miners ingesting gold to smuggle it outside the mine, here it extends to the artist's own obsession with the site. Gold fever collapses with site fever.
The ingesters eventually digest the soup, and excrete it—through the sewage system and eventually back to the land, along with the gold flakes—thereby unsettling the artist-land connection, admitting its temporality and elusiveness, leaving the artists as strangers.
The work is a gift, a site-specific work that lives now somewhere beneath the surface. As a representation of this gesture, the blueprint for of the site’s utility system is transformed into a treasure map that includes the text recited during the performance.