I eat local was my first internet video series. What at first seemed a challenge to condense a subject into a three to five minute internet short, later became a way of seeing, hearing and a way to process movement. In this first piece, I realized a lot about really listening, thinking about the connections between visual movement and rhythm. I recommend listening with headphones, for a lot of the richness in found sounds lies deep within the track.
gold rush from mickey murch on Vimeo.
I filmed the entire piece with a tripod and the only sounds in the video are found in the footege. While filming, I did not imagine that the sounds would be such a large part of the eventual piece, and only later, in editing, did I have the idea to expand time and think about the rhythm of harvesting as actual music. By repeating sounds, a sound palette gets richer and more dense, until a breakthrough into a new activity. I liked this concept, as I think it relates to working in the fields where one can find the piece of mind to actually listen, to see, and at the same time busy yourself in a rhytmic dance that is the work.
The next piece I published was a bit more aggressive, "I eat local: pork." In my family, we eat a lot of meat, practically at every meal. We pride ourselves, or at least laugh a lot about converting vegetarians who visit our farm and stay for a meal. After helping to feed our happy animals, seeing the truely good life and husbandry we aspire towards, the visitor has little argument against the treatment of the animals, the conditions, the waste of food that could be fed to humans...I think it is so important to realize that eating meat is, ecologically, not across the board bad.
I eat local. Part I: Pork from mickey murch on Vimeo.
I perused you-tube for videos about slaughtering animals, just to see what was there. No surprise, I only could find videos that made you feel sick, videos about cruelty, factories, despicable things...and as someone who knows that it can be done in a good way, I feel it is my duty to show that. I mean, it is so easy for the negator, the nay sayer, but what about being creative, inventive, taking a risk by showing something that is taboo, but could transcend from the brutal to beauty. This video was my first try, and raw as it is, I still aspire to show my creative "kosher." I know that eventually I will be able to show how each slice with the knife is like a stroke of a paintbrush, and the work is blessed, amazing, and possesses infinite creativity.
Piecing together an understanding of our ecosystem, i find the ocean as a direct indicator. My father always took us fishing as kids and I can remember times catching huge numbers of salmon, halibut, rock-fish. It is so sad to have only this memory, to have lost this practice, this abundance and healthy ecosystem. For the last two years, the King Salmon, which require healthy river systems that are now non-existent in California, have not appeared. Similarly, the Halibut, a flat, bottom dwelling fish, and rock-fish are no longer easy to catch. Foods that I grew up on are no longer part of our diets. Over-fishing happens around the world, destroying the largest protein producing system, the ocean, this means a lot of people go hungry. "I eat local: Dungeness Crab" is a video of the last functioning fishery that we partake in.
I eat local. Part II: Dungeness Crab from mickey murch on Vimeo.
The good thing about this crab fishery is that fishermen only take the large male crabs, leaving the next generation with plenty of females and males. The bad thing, from our standpoint, is that there is no regulation limiting the amount of traps a fisherman is allowed to set. While we fish only 80 traps, some fishermen fish with 800 traps or more. Also, fishermen from Oregon and Washington travel down the coast and fish at the opening of the season. Once the season opens, there are tens of thousands of traps outside of the bay area, and almost all of the legal crabs are caught in the first two weeks. Then, the out of state boats leave... on to the next resource.
I became obsessed with mobile food units. With a concept of the post-modern guerrilla gardener, I began to design a mobile chicken coop. I imagined the setting of a suburban side walk strip, the rolling of welded bike wheels and abandoned fence mesh, resting down onto no-man's land, anywhere USA. It is the idea that you can use the land around you to make the food you need...an old WWII poster, reincarnated. The mobility, for one, allows for the temporary cropping of grass and insects, and the specific application of fertilizer to an area of land. Also, the concept of the guerrilla gardener is that s/he uses land that others have no specific desire to manage, without permanently occupying the space.
I eat local chicken from mickey murch on Vimeo.
The final scene, when a young boy joins the plucking was purely luck, I had no idea that he was going to arrive at that moment, but it supported the intended purpose very well. There is nothing better that broadening boundaries.