Flint Hills Counterpoint
Flint Hills Counterpoint focuses on 14 acres in rural Kansas owned by Susan Mayo. Throughout the process of land restoration, visiting community leaders will experience the transition through repeated visits and partnering events that fosters a personal sense of responsibility through exposure to strengthen awareness and to inspire stewardship. Specialists from the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Kansas Forest Service will guide the reclamation process of this project and are providing ninety percent of the funding of the reclamation process.
Considered as an ecological and cultural wasteland due to habitat fragmentation and loss, invasive plant species, stream degradation and soil erosion- the tallgrass prairie is the most decimated ecosystem in North America. Reclamation Meridian is a collaborative audiovisual documentary film composition for autonomous single-channel screenings and a site-specific live multimedia performance that is a chronological interpretation of sensory field recordings taken from the perspective of the land, flora and fauna that are witness to the reclamation process of its eleven acres of post-natural landscape over the course of several years.
Specialized field recording devices such as a hydrophone, stethoscope, contact microphone, microscope and waterproof- shock resistant cameras inserted into the subterranean and superterranean systems will be used to gather audiovisual documentation from the perspective of these biological communities including root, water and soil systems in addition to plant, insect and animal life- each having their own unique aural ballad. The sound recordings gathered in the field will inform the tone, rhythm, form and texture of a traditional acoustic musical composition comprised of several movements that parallel the chronological experience of the reclamation process.
The arrangement of the video field recordings, the visual component of the work, will be motivated by the tone, rhythm and sequencing of the musical composition- the imagery will be both observational and abstract, macro and micro. Reclamation Meridian will culminate into an on-site audiovisual performance comprised of a string quartet, video projection and sound recordings from the field that will be adapted into an experimental documentary film.
In addition to the film and music event, Flint Hills Counterpoint will engage in a number of interactive projects throughout Marion County over two years including house concerts, art, music, and biology workshops, and other ideas generated by the wider community.
Susan Mayo & Cyan Meeks
Mayo, a soundscape artist and Meeks, an experimental documentary filmmaker, create ecological and socially relevant content and collaborative relationships based on site-specific, deep-map explorations. Both have a foundational ethnographic approach.
Meeting as Tallgrass Artist Residency artists in 2018, each was moved by the other’s work and inspired to collaborate. Flint Hills Counterpoint will culminate in 2022 as a celebratory walking tour and on-site audiovisual performance comprised of a string quartet, video projection and sound recordings from the field that will be adapted into an experimental documentary film.
Mayo’s most recent work, Tallgrass Studies, is a musical composition in four movements based on: I Ornithology & Anemology (study of birds and the movements of wind), II Entomology (study of insects), III Agrostology (study of grasses), and IV Ethnochoreology (study of dance).
Meeks’ most recent film Phainesthai, explores how geological and ecological memory can be visually represented to engage audience perception of the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve and to challenge assumptions when re-presenting truths present beyond perception.