Sunday, March 25, 2012

Death of a Barn, the DVD extras.

I was going to try to find a little freeware GIF animator to make a sequence of these, but in the end felt like I might rather just post the images and head for a nap after this...you’ll get the picture.

A little sequence of the barn finally giving up life as a building and becoming a flaming pile of rubble.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Death of a Barn, Part 2

OK, this is the exciting second and final installment. The fireworks, if you will. The second day was the controlled-burn of the barn, quite a group of volunteer firefighters in attendance. All pretty exciting. Without the intervention of the Klan or a lightning-strike most people never get to see a barn burning.

They had a big ladder extension with a water-sheet making sure the fire didn’t hit any power wires, and hoses on stand-by from several sides on the ground.

Some of you will know that I still have a little dose of PTSD from a house-fire in Nashville years back. Makes me kinda like a squirrel when I hear sounds that remind me of my fuse-box exploding, gas igniting, that kind of thing. My fire wasn’t anything like what this turned into. The old barnwood was tinder-dry and ready to go. After burning for a few hours rather calmly on the street side, the backside—which had the most wood and also some old hay storage—started to go up.

Man, is fire a scary thing up close, when it really starts to rage. There had been a big storm sneaking up most of the afternoon, and just as the fire was reaching its peak and the building collapsed, the storm came on hard. Rain, wind, hail. I had my bike on the car and camera gear so I bolted. The end was all a blur. There was a lot of primal excitement when the old barn finally seriously flamed up and pretty quickly collapsed. I was amazed that I had the presence of mind to shoot a little collapse sequence.

My most vivid memory was that even without much structure, the roof alone held in this enormous blaze and before the end it looked literally like a house built of fire. Stunning.

What an afternoon.

Juan and his crew are back in town this weekend heading toward the actual installing part of the installation. Interested to see what evolves.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Death of a Barn, Part 1

Had an interesting time last weekend observing the first stage of an installation upcoming at the New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art. It involved salvaging bits of an old barn (which had been badly damaged by storms, bugs, and age) just outside of town, then in a controlled burn—supervised by local firemen—burning the remains of the barn to the ground, for use as material in the installation.

Was nice to have my sweet pal Erika back in town for a few days, she’d started this project prior to moving to Columbus, OH, and was checking in on it.

The project is by Chicago-based artist, Juan Ch├ívez. He and his posse are coming back this weekend to proceed with another stage. I probably won’t get as in the middle of this upcoming part...too many cooks in the kitchen, in addition to Juan, he already has a photographer, Joaquin, and a videographer, Alex. Good fellas, all.

I was fascinated by the still-existing structure of the barn, even though there was very little actual structure other than skeletal framework and some of a roof left. Beautiful setting sunlight, seeping through the abundant cracks and gaping holes where walls once stood. Always been a sucker for ruins (it ain’t the Roman Colusseum, but this IS the Midwest, and history is history). Some of these detail shots make it seem much more intact than was actually the case. Bet it was a beauty in its day.

The first day was kind of like the visitation of a recently deceased body, coming for one last glimpse, saying goodbyes, relatives taking all the good stuff from the house. Although I don’t think anybody had much real affection for the “deceased” at this point. It felt right that I was there, even though not a member of the family.

So these are the first part...next the fire.