De Schwoate Bruhne von Eigengrund is a five-part foundational fable, printed by Conveyor Arts for The Family on the occasion of their disinterment, 2015.
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Here lies a foundational fable, where cycles of reproduction and digestion overlap in De Schwoate Bruhne von Eigengrund (The Blacks and Browns of Our Own Ground). The story originates with a Cottonwood Tree planted by The Mother over the graves of The Father and Two Daughters. Performances follow the spirit-seed dispersals of the Tree. The Seeds are ingested by a Pig who is butchered, unbutchered, and eaten by Mother as a sacrificial act of Mourning, Sustenance, and Procreation.
This project is loosely framed around narratives of Slaughter, Sacrifice, and Choral Traditions. I am guided by material from the Schwoate Bruhne Archives and perceptions of particular members of the family, from the vantage point of an informed observer of the Mennonite faith, an ethno-religious protestant tradition that emphasizes Pacifism, Literalism, and Martyrdom. I am driven by a particular family story, that of three sisters buried beneath a tree, initiating a family cemetery. Throughout my childhood, my father renovated the cemetery but was unable to locate their graves. He says they were “taken into the root system of the tree”. This mythic logic is the sustenance of my recent work. I oscillate between embodiment and enactment, seeking to deconstruct shared assumptions about how things are done and how things are -- such as how to slaughter a pig, or what a pig even is through reverse births and unbutcherings.