Site Visits and Exchange Journeys
People, place and things come together in unique configurations to inform and enrich our lives and cultures. Between Sept 25th and Oct 3rd 2009 collaborative artists Claire Long and Anna Keleher hosted five experimental live research events at Tijeras Pueblo Archaeological Site in the Sandia Ranger District in Cibola National Forest, east of Albuquerque. Their film, “Approaching an Exchange: Dartmoor” played out in the University of New Mexico Art Museum linking this site-based project to its roots in England. The footage gathered at Tijeras Pueblo is part of a growing archive of Exchange, which will contribute to future Exchange exhibitions and events.
Five small groups of curious participants accompanied Claire Long and Anna Keleher on successive visits to the Tijeras Pueblo Archaeological Site to engage in a novel interchange with the people who lived at the site 700 years ago. Red earth slopes of piñon and juniper witnessed the Exchange journeys while ants carried off crumbs into their homes.
Participants were requested to bring something from their lives and cultures to share with the prehistoric people of Tijeras Pueblo. From barbed wire to a Santa Fe fiesta, contributions were excitingly varied. The artists’ guests spoke with respect and intelligence and there was a palpable sense of time dissolving, connection and possibility.
Each guest was also asked to consider a gift that they would like to receive from the ancient people of Tijeras. Again the requests were varied, from sharing gossip to asking for knowledge of their navigational systems.
Together the groups shared moments of sadness, regret, humor and pride. Something seemed to happen on site at the Exchange both on Dartmoor and at Tijeras, which remains difficult to grasp and harder still to explain and can only be fully experienced by the growing community of participants in the Exchange.
Approaching an Exchange came into being in a Bronze Age Roundhouse on the windy slopes of Dartmoor National Park before making its way to Tijeras Pueblo in New Mexico. The Exchange is keen to Inhabit other sites, homes, cultures and times where it will continue to encourage diverse peoples to come together to talk.
Visit live project links below to discover more about The Exchange.
What would you choose to share with the ancient inhabitants of a prehistoric settlement near you?
*Photos are by Claire Long or Anna Keleher unless otherwise credited