V Acts is a performative ecological artwork spanning twenty years. For Act I: Nomadic Germination, I carried gourd seeds planted in small pots with me on a journey. At each place I slept, I planted the pots flush with the ground and sheltered them with my body at night. When it was time to move on, I packed the latent plants for travel and added a pinch of soil from the ground to their pots. Place informs flesh. Experience is food. For Act II: Inhabitation, the plants germinated and I grew the vines over a cocoon-like trellis designed to hold my body within. After the leaves dried, I brought the trellis back to the site of the first planting in the Bisti Badlands and dwelled there for a day and night. This completed a cycle of care—I sheltered them, then they sheltered me. Years later, in Act III, to lighten the load before a journey, I set the shelter on fire and watched it burn. For Act IV: Transplant, the project re-opens after the fire with another beginning: Varieties of gourds crop up throughout the desert Southwest on native plant species. Finally, Act V brings themes of caregiving, shelter, cycles and fecundity into the realm of social engagement. I hold public workshops to create and distribute gourd homes for native cavity-nesting bird species in the Sonoran.
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