In the past year, I moved from a dense urban context in Massachusetts to the Great Plains of South Dakota. The low-lying plains remind me of the dried skins of mammals I trapped as a child-a thin layer of crops and soil on a tarp stretched across the land. The flatness of the earth and the homogeneity of the experience stifle a sense of passage. Time feels relentlessly slow, marked only by the meteorological phenomena that shift across the surface of the earth.

Corncribs dot the fields along the roadways and remain as a skeletal remnant of an agrarian past that used the elements to dry the harvest. Technology now allows farmers to dry the corn at a much larger scale, so the corncribs stand as vestigial sentinels of the past.

As such, I reinvigorated these structures to allow them to become a spectacle and landmark, and to allow the installation to react to the ever-changing weather conditions in the region. To that end, I have worked with two local farmers to transform their structures. The resulting installations mark time through observation, response to phenomena, diurnal fluctuations, meteorological conditions, and the seasons. 

One crib has been cloaked in a skin of mylar strips that react to the subtlest of breezes and reflects a fractured sky. The second structure is illuminated by series of LED light strips that are activated by the relative brightness of the atmosphere. Both installations act to mark the landscape, elucidate phenomenological conditions, and create a landscape folly from an extant condition.

Kevin Benham