Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Campito explores sheep herding and its future

Project connects the past to the future through innovation

Express Staff Writer

The Community Library in Ketchum will present the project Campito, which explores inventive designs for a mobile dwelling unit based on the experiences and activities of the contemporary sheepherder. Courtesy photo

Connecting urban life to rural life is the goal of Colorado-based M12 Studio. Artist Richard Saxton and Program Director Kirsten Gerdes Stoltz have been creating projects to enhance community awareness and innovation.

Saxton and Stoltz will give a presentation on their latest project, Campito, to The Community Library in Ketchum on Thursday, Nov. 11, at 6 p.m. Campito is a study of past and current design principles employed by sheep wagons. M12 Studio has been studying and researching the conditions in and around the sheep wagons to redesign and present a prototype for a 21st-century sheep wagon.

"We are interested in conservation and learning about agrarian principles," Stoltz said. "We have studied sheep wagons in terms of 21st-century ideas and have designed it to be more human and in tune with what is happening around the world."

Stoltz said Campito is an art project but it includes conservation.

"The sheep wagon will have a GPS system, a solar energy platform, composting toilets and a portable garden for fresh vegetables," she said. "The design of the wagon will have more of a mobile architecture presence."

She said the sheep wagons have no power or running water. Campito presents a mobile unit that will help the sheep-herding industry make a leap into the 21st century.

The project as a whole looks to stimulate community dialogue about the Campito and larger subjects tied to it, which include heritage of the American West, contemporary agriculture and food production, globalization, immigration, workers' rights and federal policies and practices. The project fuses contemporary, historical and geographical knowledge with the intention of putting it to use on the future Western American landscape.

"There is a larger social interaction with this project because the ranchers see it one way and the sheepherders see it another," Stoltz said. "We don't want to side with either because there is animosity about the situation. We want to present realistic goals and options on how we can guide the sheep-herding industry."

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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