About the Grant

$35,000 to support Mabou Mines co-artistic director Julie Archer (visual artist/designer) and long-time collaborator Liza Lorwin (writer/adaptor) in developing CORN (MAP 2008), a theater piece that takes a lyrical (and sometimes comical) look at the crop corn from personal and cultural perspectives.  This multi-media work includes live narrative performance, live music and sound effects, static trapeze, aerial-dance, film and still photography conceived for pinhole camera, a technique that gathers time as long exposures expressed in a final image.  

About the Project

Combining narrative and documentary material, the work ranges over rural/urban-industrial, local/global, traditional and technological imagery.  However its own roots are in the landscape of cornfields that still bordered Archer’s childhood home just outside Minneapolis in the 1960s and 70s.  CORN places the glamorized Americana of that time, alongside the magical realist iconography of Oaxaca, Mexico, the true cradle (though not quite birthplace) of corn, as a series of nesting boxes of vanishing cultures. 
The layering of media and modes evokes the theatrical atmosphere of these unique landscapes; their emotional as well as their physical power.  The mingling of stories reveals some consistencies in various cultural responses, and certainly many differences.  This work dramatizes the intricately specific interaction of culture with landscape, and also gives visceral dramatic weight to what we lose if that vanishes.  It makes a case for the realm of being, which seems so very vulnerable right now to aggressive incursions by the realm of having.

CORN premieres in 2010.

Related Websites

Mabou Mines


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