Tyler Rai and Elizabeth Weinstein, 2015 Sable Artists, collaborated on a project titled Shelter Labor during the two-week interdisciplinary EMERGE Residency at Earthdance.
Shelter Labor was part excavation, part performance, part film installation. While cleaning out an abandoned trailer in the woods of western Massachusetts, Rai and Weinstein investigated themes of home-making, birthing, shelter and the performance of women's labor. Audience members were invited into the trailer at dusk for intimate screenings of project material and hemlock tea.
Get a glimpse below:
homing. these bundles. holding.
i am motivated by the pleasure of home/work. the logical productivities of cleaning and folding, the thrill-space i enjoy when i have done the day’s work.
here, in the valleys of western massachusetts, in the snow and sun and woods filled wildness, we found a small home in the woods, a disintegrating trailer that has not been inhabited for over 25 years. here , in the mold and clutter, we build the site for our work.
the egg shaped tin home sits on the edge of a steep quarry. a fox lives beneath its floor, the drawers and closets are filled with chewed leaves and soft down, the thick matted nesting of more than one small creature.
piles & holding.
a clutching, an easeful balance.
scrubbing & bleaching.
sweeping thudding clumps, floor thick with leaves, threatening collapse with each footstep.
tyler spent days gathering brush and branches, collecting and compiling, wrapping bundles of the wood’s debris. these piles became necessary land/marks for us, collections of material for us to hold and carry, lift and balance.
i am curious about the relationship between our homing exercises—that stereotypical feminine labor of sweeping and cleaning and bleaching and neatening (and oh the pleasure it induces!)— with the physical act of labor.
the labor seen and unseen—
us slipping out of frame as we disappeared into the dim of the trailer,
the beauty of working bodies, the musculature of our hold on these bundles
the capacity to “make neat” in the middle of the woods.