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Michael Fields Agricultural Institute logo
At the intersection of food, soil, climate, farming and water.

Artists “Swarm” the Farm

I would like to introduce and thank SWARM Artists’ Residency for making our busy summer days a brighter place. Swarm is an artist residency for Chicago-based artists and their non-local collaborators. It is a place for artists to come and do the work they often do not have time to commit to due to the obligations of life. Throughout the month of July, SWARM hosted over 100 artists in residence at Michael Fields Agricultural Institute.

“The basis of artistic creation is not what is, but what might be; not the real, but the possible. Artists create according to the same principles as nature, but they apply them to individual entities, while nature, to use a Goethean expression, thinks nothing of individual things. She is always building and destroying, because she wants to achieve perfection, not in the individual thing, but in the whole.”Rudolph Steiner, The Aesthetics of Goethe’s Worldview, Vienna, November 9, 1888.

Here at Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, we have been interested in exploring the connection between Art and Agriculture. Our farm has long been inspired by Anthroposophy, Biodynamics, and the philosophies of Rudolf Steiner. Our beautiful brown barn that houses our workshops, offices, and commercial kitchen has been influenced and designed with Steiner’s philosophies of Art and Architecture. The Church of the Good Earth has been gracious to coordinate seasonal art exhibits by local artists that are displayed on the first level of our building. And throughout the month of July we have been fortunate to host an artists’ residency.

This last month artists of all disciplines developed plays, wrote songs, filmed, painted, choreographed and cooked for one another using fresh organic and Biodynamic produce grown on the farm. Musicals, poetry, novels, children’s books, film trailers, stories, songs, dances, ritual, collaborations and relationships have been forged and born here at this farm–carrying the feel and beauty of this land. The landscape of Michael Fields fed their creative spirits and gave them the spaciousness they needed to make transformative art. What a lovely collaboration!

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