December 6, 2017

“Hands, Hearts, Soil,” in The Economy of Survival by Siri Hermansen

What do writers like? Writers like receiving beautifully bound-and-printed copies of things they have written in the mail. Yes we do. Especially when it is this fantastic compendium about the work of filmmaker Siri Hermansen, who invited me to contribute an essay on the the section of this book regarding her documentary work, “Land of Freedom” – which focuses on members of the Farnsworth Farm community, a place near and dear to my heart.

It is no stretch to say that I wouldn’t have come to Detroit without this remarkable group of people, nor been able to stay, and that their existence is special, and impossible to capture. I have long been daunted by the idea of trying to write about it, and this essay posed a particular challenge because of my internal sense that I must do their work justice. I don’t know that I was successful, but I was so touched and proud to be asked, and I did my very best.

If you have an interest in this book, which also covers some of Siri’s fascinating work in Chernobyl, and Israel controlled Jerusalem and the bordering zone of the Palestinian controlled Bethlehem – especially if you are a Detroit cultural institution or bookseller! – you can contact the artist here.

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