McHenry County, Illinois
with Andrew Adams, Claire Arctander, Linda Balek, Amanda Crockett,
Louis Dickinson, Pam Holt, Barbara Laing, Jeffrey Letterly, Lara Philip,
Carla Owens, Matthew Owens, and Nena Samardzija.
Photo credit: Jim Green and Joan Dickinson
Drove Road took place over a 22-mile route in rural McHenry County. Five sites were activated: the oldest cemetery in the county, a processional along an s-curve, an unused farm overgrown with trees, a small opera on top of a hill, and a pond circus.
While working on the performance, I came across the writing of British photographer and antiquarian Alfred Watkins who “rediscovered” ley lines in the British countryside describing them in his book The Old Straight Track. Ley lines, or leys, are alignments of ancient sites stretching across the landscape and may be identified, simply, as an aligned placing of markers; or the ley might be visible on the ground for all or part of its length by the remains of a track. Watkins surmised that these straight tracks were the remnants of prehistoric trading routes. He went on to associate them with various means of communication, the formation of boundaries, and with different mythological figures who function as guides to travelers on unknown paths.
With Drove Road, I came to understand the ley of the performed landscape as a collage, consisting of live events, human-generated and nature-made landmarks, expansive vistas, and stopping places chosen or created with an eye towards a cohesive narrative.