This triptych, Nomadic Seasons, Rouge Farmer, is a continuation of the collection series, Short Stories & Make Believe, and is inspired by my late grandfather who was a farmer in northern Illinois, utilizing antiquated equipment and materials with improvisation, despite an agricultural industry migrating to modernization methods. The conversion cost to newer technologies wasjustification for him to continue as is. However, the agricultural community became increasingly static, like a windless weather vane, ushering in an indifferent and distant-type automated environment, and the behavioral pressure from autonomist neighbors to align with new technology-based business protocols, finalized my grandfather’s non-alliance decision. The following pieces are metaphorical landscapes depicting the seasonal changes on a farm, accompanied with an abstract narrative underlying a farming lifestyle.
Winter-Spring, was always the stressful months for my grandfather, wondering whether or not the reserves would last through next season. He observed during these months how his attitude became colder, with a singularity demeanor, similar to what he felt like visiting people in thetechnology sector, perhaps due to management instilling greater responsibility and demands on its operatives. He also heard about how the acquisition of knowledge was now preyed upon and harvested for its opportunities before it was dated and farmed out.
Summer was characterized by the ardent deployment of new, yet built-in obsolescenttechnologies, and he was approached often by a salesperson demonstrating how to encapsulate individuality into a corporate-like system, and trying to convince him that a dry informatics-based society, and the networking involved, is now the hands-on synthetic intellectual model.
My grandfather was always intrigued with Fall, observing a growing community, blissfully entertained with their sense of self-worth and insulated diversionary tech-no environment. He acknowledged technology’s inherently changing behavioral patterns, but remained obstinate towards its unconditional freedom, since the individual ingenuity it took to create this life style,didn’t require any discipline to attain it.
As a young teenager traveling to visit my grandfather, I always viewed the corn fields, wheat and later on, soybeans as landscape collections with hidden experiences. It was in this demographical region where I first learned about farming equipment and the cost of upgrading the technology supporting the machinery necessary to farm. Over time, I began observing how influential technological advancement in farming equipment was downsizing the labor force, creating a non-tech cultural minority, and I witnessed farmers still fortunate to be in the business, struggling to learn new skill sets just to stay pace with the demands of the agricultural industry. Eventually, the increasing competition from corporate international food producers began compromising the viability of smaller family owned farming businesses, including my grandfather, who eventually retired from farming. To this day I still miss getting lost in the corn fields collecting memories; however, I still observe a contracting workforce everywhere I look. As I become my grandfather, I face similar challenges.