Growing up on a farm in Louisburg, Kansas without formal creative outlets for his talents, David Wayne Reed created his own venues for self-expression. His family lived off the grid, connected to the world by dirt road and antenna—the CB, the AM/FM, and in small doses, the TV. Alone, with the nearest neighbors miles away, he found creative spark in the solitude of his imagination. David desperately desired an audience, a connection. When people would come to visit the farm, he finally had a captive audience. He performed impromptu drag numbers for visiting seed salesmen. He danced for the hay crew. He made a connection. These memories have informed his creative work—from his trucking musicals to his one-man show about growing up gay on a farm. Having transported farm and country to the city with those productions, he would now like to return to his rural homeland and make a new artistic connection: to put the art in agriculture.
The relationship between farmer and land is spiritual, interdependent, and profound. It is an exercise in having faith in a seed’s future. It is the ritual of daily chores. It is the consequent prayers for rain and sunshine. It is the gratitude for a bountiful harvest. It is the inevitable surrender to the Winter. David recalls asking his father about the idea of reincarnation when he was a young man. His father said that the idea was plausible and offered the idea of a volunteer crop of wheat, or a perennial plant as possible evidence. Life continues from birth to death, from seed to harvest, again and again, he reasoned, creating a vision of the farm as a mandala of life—seasonal, perpetual, unrelenting, and eternal.
Eternal Harvest is a seasonal performance installation series, culminating in a film about the cycle of life as depicted in the landscape of the Reed family’s rural Kansas farm. Using drones, dance, farm implements, heirloom quilts, agriculture, and video installation, Eternal Harvest re-imagines and re-purposes the familiar agrarian implements and landscape to illustrate and celebrate the land, as well as the coming and going of livelihood it brings.
The short film will be projected on the side of a large barn that sits beside a road and on top of a hill – allowing for drive by and drive up audiences. This project is collaborative, and both reflects and shifts the perspective of the landscape back to its own community in a pronounced and innovative way.
David wants to cross-pollinate disparate communities in artistic collaboration. The process will, he hopes, create meaningful exchanges in a way of life and state suffering from an ongoing cultural drought. In addition to his urban creative community, he will be enlisting the assistance of his family and the communities to which they belong—including the Louisburg First Christian Church, the Two-Cylinder Antique Tractor Association of Greater Kansas City, the Masonic Lodge, an elderly dance and social club, and the hometown marching band.