Jaime Knight and Ari Marcantonio

Jaime Knight and Ari Marcantonio came to PLAND with enthusiasm, vigor, gentleness, and humor – a powerhouse cocktail of personalities. During their three week collaborative residency, they questioned the grid, lifestyles of resistance, land-based legacies, colonialism, and more. They embraced the challenge of limited materials, less-than-stellar tools, and time restrictions to create an unimaginable delight for PLAND and all its future participants: a hand built adobe wood-burning sauna. The project references local histories and traditional practices, as well as provides a welcome respite after a hard day’s work on the mesa. More details about the project and their process can be found here.

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The sauna

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Inside the sauna

In their application, Jaime and Ari articulated their anticipations of what their time at PLAND might entail:

“Summer on the mesa is early rising and getting to work before the sun gets too hot, breaking for thunderstorms and watching the lightning strike. It’s the smell of the chamisa after the rain and the wet sandy loam sinking under your feet as you walk. It’s some of the most amazing sunsets in the world, skies full of starts and coyotes howling in the night. We see our interaction with the mesa to be twofold: conceptually, for us, the high desert, and particularly the ‘unsettled frontier’ of the desert, is a place to consider what living in our society is all about, a metaphor for a place outside of contemporaneity where interactions between diverse histories/knowledge structures can be examined. It is a context which we are each removed from and connected to. Physically, it’s a place to go in order to take ourselves our of society to better consider it, and act on re-imagining what it could be. A place where we can wander off into the sage and truly think, where we can work hard on physical manifestations of those ideas and share in the creation of what you have begun.”

We were impressed by and thankful for Ari and Jaime’s commitment to their residency. They took advantage of their local contacts and expanded networks in order to examine and test their ideas about friendship, collaboration, and modes of production. After a few months of time and distance away from PLAND, and once back to their everyday personal and professional lives, we asked them to reflect on their residency. Jaime says,

“PLAND allowed for us to build a collaborative relationship the depth of which is a direct result of the isolated space of the residency and intense work required to not only finish our project but to simply exist comfortably on the mesa. Having the freedom to decide upon and execute a project of our own choice that felt like a real investment in the program.”

Jaime Knight and Ari Marcantonio (left to right)

Ari is a visual artist currently pursuing a BA in Art at UCLA and co-founder of FeedUsFundUs, a collaboration of artists, designers, chefs, and scientists. His practice is an investigation of the construction and perpetuation of systems of value, with a recent focus on structures of support, their formation, and the role they could or should play in the post-globalized capitalist world.

Jaime is an award-winning educator and exhibiting artist, currently working on his MFA in Printmaking at the University of Iowa. In his work, he explores relationships and questions how subjectivity and its construction can be disrupted through the articulated aesthetic experience and if that moment can lead to new forms of relating to the world.
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