Habitable Spaces Project is a self-sustaining farm and artists residency in Kingsbury Texas, located about one hour South East of Austin and occupies approximately 120 acres.
I spoke with the founding directors, Alison Ward and Shane Heinemeier. Shane is a native Texan and painter, Alison is a sculptor, performance and video artist. Together they bring a range of resources, talent and experience to the project. The idea for Habitable Spaces Project began in NYC, where they both participated in the artists collective/residency program at the Flux Factory, www.fluxfactory.org
Alison had another “off the grid” experience at the Waterpod Project, www.thewaterpod.org While living on a barge for five months, she with the other inhabitants embraced community living, self-reliance, resourcefulness, human expression and creative exploration. “Working in a collective atmosphere with other artists was informative and inspiring” and this is what fuels their vision for the Habitable Spaces Project.
The Habitable Spaces Project was Alison and Shane’s “natural next step” in their evolution as artists. They believe this project can bring awareness to the greater art world by example, “Art as Life, Life as Art”. “Alison explains, “Art has become separated from life and is isolated in museums and galleries.” Habitable Spaces Project will offer an experience of “living art” by making every action thoughtful and creative. An example of this maybe in the way one chooses to farm, compare this to how a painter might contemplate a stroke on a canvas.
Habitable Spaces Project offers a place for artists to expand on their creativity and integrate this with everyday living on the land. It’s a place for exploring new techniques and practices by implementing sustainable solutions.
Ben Devoe and Dave Perez, traveled from NYC and were the first team on site to construct the initial structures at Kingsbury. Their task was to build shelter and work spaces while living off the land. Building required resourcefulness, using mostly dead trees left from the previous years drought, which served as posts for the kitchen structure and were tied with rope. Scrap pallets from a local business served to build a tool shed. Dave Perez tells me that “Living off the land and hunting for food heightened his experience of survival, this experience really brought everyone together.”
Still in early stages of development, there is hard work ahead. Water, outhouses and recycling need to be thought out. To follow the progress of the Habitable Spaces Project, or to get involved, go to http://www.habitablespaces.org
Blog by Lucas