Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Golden Lemons of Baron Apthous Von Canker

The first part of our project would be a map of the ranch detailing the role of the ranch in
the history of the golden lemon. On the map significant spots would be marked out and at the corresponding spots on the ranch historical recreations would illustrate the significance of that spot.

Our fictional lemon time line goes something like this:

-1849, California lemon industry takes off when lemons are brought in as a treatment for gold miners suffering from scurvy.

-Gold/lemon grafting is accidently discovered when a miner attempts to hide his stash of gold by sewing it inside of lemons. This leads to more formal experiments in grafting.

-In what comes to be a specialized process of lemon and gold grafting, permutations that affect the skin, seeds and flesh meat of the lemon occur. The possibility of the ranch as a place to process the gold through the lemon hybridization process is considered.

-1850 The lemon money commodity. The ranch becomes the site of an experimental gold/lemon mint founded by Baron Apthous Von Canker. By minting the gold in California miners and mining companies were saved the long and treacherous trip to the U.S. mint in Philadelphia, Further, the lemon/golds minting process was far more difficult to counterfiet than the crude industrially produced coins of conventional minting processes. It didn't hurt that Von Canker was involved in developing early forms of hydraulic mining.

-At the height of its success Von Canker installs a hot air balloon lemon slice with golden seeds above the mint for promotional purposes. This ominous symbol becomes more dramatic still as it marks a reversal in the fortunes of the mint and the downfall of the golden lemon.

-Fall of the lemon. Sour business deals lead to a boycotting of the Von Canker mint by area mining companies. There is also an a federal investigation based on suspicion that there is not enough gold in Von Canker's coins. Improvements in minting technology make the golden lemon less appealing to investors and Von Canker falls into bankruptcy. The ranch is sold at auction.

Some Notes on Site Specificity:
If the phenomenological approach to site specificity emphasizes the body, and the social/institutional approach emphasizes the mind, our approach emphasizes the imagination. This project is an experiment in allowing the imagination to run amok in a specific site with a specific materiality and a specific history. This project is not a controlled illumination of any aspect of the site but an attempt to disturb the way the site signifies through narrative. It is a strategy of play. In some ways it is analogous to the way myths are generated in advertisements.
Fictional associations endow the orange with meaning which increases the value of the orange juice. We buy an idea of family, of nourishment, of purity, of nature, the juice is merely the bearer of these ideas (as money is merely a piece of paper that serves as a bearer of value).
Our idea is that these myths, motivated by profit, need to be countered by other myths which disturb these disturbing processes of signification and this instrumental use of the imagination. This strategy approaches the ranch as a site for the generation of meaning.

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