With the help of Scott (Room 34), I’ve decided to tentatively call the farm “rooms” Roominations. The name came about when I was recounting to Scott one of my favorite quotations by Judith Butler and how it fits with one goal for the rooms:

But here I would ask for your patience since it turns out that critique is a practice that requires a certain amount of patience in the same way that reading, according to Nietzsche, required that we act a bit more like cows than humans and learn the art of slow rumination (307).

Yes! Being at the farm, where time was much slower (my best friend Jenny named it, “the place where time stands still”), encouraged me to be patient and inspired me to want to stop and think about…everything. I deeply miss that space; I haven’t been able to find any other location that encourages as much reflection as the farm did. The farm rooms/roominations are my attempt to (re)create spaces that encourage this deep and slow thinking.

Contented cows on the farm.
Contented cows on the farm.

Even though it might be a little cheesy, I like calling these rooms “roominations.” Unlike the term rumination, which focuses on the act of ruminating, roomination also focuses on where that act take place (it’s not just an act; it’s a process located in a specific place). I also like calling these roominations because the farm was, for many years, a dairy farm. My dad has fond memories of milking and bonding with the cows. It seems fitting to reference that past.

Immersive Rooms

A key part of this project is the creation of a series of farm “rooms.” These rooms combine soundscapes (looped tracks + found sounds), images, video footage, text and voice-over to create immersive spaces that enable you to feel like you are at the farm. But, what does it mean to “feel” like you’re at the farm? For me, being at the farm always made be feel inspired by the landscapes and the buildings to pause and reflect on my life. It allowed me to get away and achieve  some critical distance from the entrenched habits of my daily life. But the farm didn’t feel like an escape from the “real” world, but a homecoming to the place (the spirit, the people) that nurtured and supported me, allowing me to “be who I was and enjoy who I was.” Currently, I’m working on two “rooms” that focus on the feelings of getting away and being nurtured. Here’s a (very) preliminary video mock-up of what those rooms will look/feel like:

Analysis: Welcome to Pine Point, pt 2c

Here is (hopefully) the final installment in my analysis of Welcome to Pine Point(pt 1, pt 2a, pt 2b)

chapter five: Shelf Life

On the opening page of this chapter, the text reads:
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I’m bothered by the last line:

Who can relate to an entire town closing except people whose town has closed?

What does the narrator mean by this question? And what is its intent? While I’d like to read it as an introduction to the next two pages in the chapter, when two Pine Pointers discuss leaving Pine Point, that’s not the immediate effect. I read the question as another example of the narrator positioning people in Pine Point as exotic others that we (the users) can gaze upon and learn about. We, because we can’t relate to them (but who says everyone who might read/view that “we” can’t relate?), are different from people in Pine Point. Not sure if this makes sense?

chapter six: What’s Weird

On the opening page of this chapter, there is an unidentified (and disembodied) voice discussing how it’s weird to think about Pine Point not existing anymore. On the page is a split screen with two sets of footage: on the left is Pine Point 1987, with various buildings, on the right is Pine Point 2009, with barren fields. It’s a powerful page, made even more powerful by the haunting music in the background.

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chapter seven: Remains

This chapter discusses how losing the town meant it never changes—it can’t, it’s gone. This allows Pine Pointers to not just remember it, but memorialize it as a wonderful place, where nothing bad happened.

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This text seems to be the answer to the question that open the entire documentary:

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This chapter also introduces the “big surprise”/twist of the story (which I won’t reveal here).

chapter eight: One for the Road

On the final page of the interactive documentary, the narrator wonders:

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Then, he answers:
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This passage fits the overall tone/mood of this interactive documentary. Again, it positions the narrator (and us, I think?) as forever distanced from the Pine Pointers. We will never know how they feel/what they felt—we can’t understand—because their experiences are too different from ours. What would this story look like if he had asked Pine Pointers if they were happier? If there were (more) accounts (or, because it’s an interactive documentary, opportunities for them to share their stories online) of their responses to this question.

I deeply enjoyed this interactive documentary and count it as one of my big inspirations, so my critical questions aren’t meant to devalue or dismiss it. I think my persistent questions about the narrator and how they position themselves (and us) as distanced from the subjects of the story come out of my own struggles to figure out how I want to position myself as a narrator in the farm project.

More on that later…