I’ve long been interested in representing the Puotinen Farm land as a character in my farm stories. I’ve never imagined it as merely the passive setting for the action. The first farm film that I created in 2001 attempts to express this through the title, The Farm: An Autobiography. While I’m not sure I still like this title, the goal was to tell the story of the land. I imagined the digital video as the autobiography of the farm. In the second farm film, The Puotinen Women, I made the land one of the four main storytellers. In that digital video, I interspersed the stories of Ines Puotinen, Judy Puotinen, Sara Puotinen and the Farm.
In this story experiment, I’m still working through how to represent the land. Maybe this blog post, Eyes Open, Ears Up—Writing about Place will help.
As Robert Macfarlane writes in The Old Ways, “Landscape is not the passive object of our gaze, but rather a volatile participant…I prefer to take landscape as a collective term for the temperature and pressure of air, the fall of light and its rebounds, the textures and surfaces of rock, soil, and building, the sounds…the scents…and the uncountable other transitory phenomena and atmospheres that together comprise the bristling presence of a particular place at a particular moment.”