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The Elevated Field

28/04/2024, NOTES

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Bio

Dharmendra Prasad lives and works between Assam and Bihar, India. His work deals with how marginalized groups live with agrarian life in India, and the coming of plantation based capitalism in the contemporary. Prasad runs the artistic, community project Harvest School that gathers families, farmers, craftsmen, fishermen, urban youth, and non-human agencies to unlearn imperial attitudes; colonial, nationalistic and industrial practices.

The Elevated Field

The Elevated Field is up and ready at PDAS, Hårbølle, Møn. It was conceptualized by Hosting Lands artist Dharmendra Prasad, completed and made public during the Pedagogies of the Rural Workshop, April 27th 2024. The Elevated Field has been truly, truly and TRULY been made possible by all the wonderful colleagues, collaborators, co-creators at Møn, Copenhagen and elsewhere. We owe it to you all!!

The Elevated Field is a sculptural/architectural object that can be farmed upon. Dharmendra’s original idea came from observing lower caste landless farmers, or peasants, in his village in India, who farm or till on other people’s land with no access to land of their own. The Elevated Field can then serve as grounds for farmers to create and farm plots where there exist none. In Denmark, it sits at Fanefjord Fælled, Hårbølle where PDAS and Hosting Lands are in the process of commoning a piece of agricultural land into a forest garden, accessible to all. The Elevated Field speaks across very different contexts where agriculture is putting pressure on land, and extracting the last life form out of it. The Elevated Field is scaffolded and gridded with wood, and wooden joints (butt joints), woven and padded with local willow twigs and seagrass. It is then thinly covered with soil upon which you can farm. In his finissage speech to the workshop, Dharmendra Prasad spoke about how the making of the field is not just about the sculpture itself, but how to build a community in Møn, and to translate that sense of community back to his village in India. It is about owning and sharing our collective urgencies, Prasad concluded.

Below in the gallery are photos from the collective building of The Elevated Field that took place, between 22nd-26th April 2024, concluding with the public workshop, Pedagogies of the Rural, on Saturday, 27th April 2024. While through the week collaborators joined to help realize the Elevated Field, on Saturday, with a larger public and audience, we finished making The Elevated Field, covering it with soil from the Fanefjord Fælled. Dharmendra ran a collective litti making session, where participants made litti together - a multi-grain dough ball, both a farmer's food as he reminds us, and indicative of the multi-cropping practices inherent to his village. We then roasted it in fire, built on the underside of the Elevated Field, and shared it over lunch. We concluded the day with his finnisage speech, and a viewing and discussion of his two channel video work, Aadara. Aadara is about agricultural and seasonal time that belies industrial or modern time of work.

Hosting Lands is sprouting, growing, creating new practices of inhabitation and community as we go. Our gratitude to Dharmendra Prasad for putting so much love and commitment into building artworks and/as translocal relations. Also gratitude and gigantic shout out to pedagogical visionary and building wizard Kaspar Jørgensen, the entire group of På Den Anden Side and the community of Hårbølle and beyond who made this collective artwork possible by showing up and seeding solidarity.

The Elevated Field has been made possible by the Pedagogies of the Rural project within Hosting Lands. It is supported by Globus Call Nordsik Kulturfond, Bikuben Vision Exhibition Award.

Collaborators & Co-hosts

Collaborators cutting and organizing wood

Dharmendra weaving wooden twigs

Dea Antonsen and Shëkufe Heiberg weaving twigs

Members of PDAS, collaborators piling soil onto the Elevated Field

Collective making of Litti

Sharing Litti with other food

Our sunny little picnic at the workshop

Watching Dharmendra’s video work, Aadara

Collective viewing and discussion of Dharmendra's works.