This presentation is part of the Texas Cultural Landscape Symposium, February 23-26, Waco, TX.
Speaker 1: I think it’s really important to emphasize and I think this is maybe obvious, but if it’s not, every one of these rural places that we’re talking about are unique and special because of the specific conditions, whether it’s the soils and the geological issues, the political issues, the economic issues, the social issues. It’s all different. There is no one kind of rural place. They’re all very, very different. And I think the other thing that I especially like about cultural landscapes as an approach, not just in rural context but elsewhere, is that we get away from talking about famous people and famous events and it embraces the totality of our society and it’s inclusive and it’s diverse and it’s really, really interesting. It allows us to include more and not exclude. And I think for so long preservation has been seen as this exclusive, refined, sort of curatorial type of activity that it doesn’t need to be. Because we want to have as many people engaged as possible, and I think through the work of Andrea and with Perky and with Sandro, they’re all getting people involved and engaged in what we’re all doing in our own sort of careers and local activities.
We have time for about ten minutes worth of questions. If anyone wants to ask a question of any of these three, if you would come up to the microphone. Anyone have any thoughts? If not… Is that a question coming up? Okay.
Speaker 2: Thank you so much. I was wondering if you’d heard about at the Guggenheim right now they have an exhibition by Rem Koolhaas who’s an architect and he’s been famous for urban research for decades with work on New York City. But he’s currently, his whole exhibition in the Guggenheim, he’s taken it over, is about rural issues and just it’s like a research-based rural exhibition. So thank you so much. It’s fascinating. Thank you.
Speaker 1: Great. Thank you. Kevin.
Kevin: Hi. Thank you all. I’ve heard Perky and Andrea a bit, but Sandro, it’s really nice to meet you and share that experience out there. I can’t keep thinking I want to attend one of your workshops on adobe. And in my experience as a graduate student, I’ve made some. In the Mediterranean, we just call it mud brick rather than adobe, but essentially it’s the same thing. But it took up to 10 days to dry from the mold forming. So about how long does your material take? And then when you do your workshops, how long does that last in case we were to say have it at Bassett Farm someday? All right.
Sandro Canovas: Adobe, it’s always sun-permitting. And if I would be making adobes, for example, in [inaudible 00:03:05], down where the river is, it gets so hot, for example, in the summer that I remember I’ve seen a 127 Fahrenheits. So when it’s like that, I always make the joke that I can deliver the adobes that same afternoon. You can come and pick them up [inaudible 00:03:25]. So it depends on the workshops and depending on the structure that you’re building. That photo that I put of the workshop that we did, we pushed it a little bit and that room, we build it in two and a half days. But I was pushing it [inaudible 00:03:44] and a vault, three by three, we can build it in a day and a half, once you put the [inaudible 00:03:52].
Kevin: Is the vault vernacular to West Texas and Northern Mexico? Or is that something that you mention [crosstalk 00:03:58]-
Sandro Canovas: In places where the church had some deep [inaudible 00:00:04:01], yeah. The church was the only one that had the capability to bring the masons that would do that. The biggest one I’ve seen in that area, it’s at the entrance of Chihuahua in [inaudible 00:04:12] and it’s a group of six enormous vaults. And if you ever going down to Presidio County, yes come, reach me out.
Speaker 1: And Simone Swan still lives in Houston. And she came to Houston to work with the Manila family and she learned of Hassan Fathi’s work and went to Egypt and studied those Nubian vaults. And then when she was visiting Fort Leaton, she found that it was basically the same sort of climate that they had in Egypt and thought, “Well, this would be an interesting thing to try and bring this idea, to adapt the local vernacular to this other tradition and marry those things.” And it’s been a really interesting work to learn about both from Simone and from Sandro and going out to West Texas. There’s a lot to learn. Andrea, would you just quickly talk about your exhibit that you’ve put together at the Bullock?
Andrea Roberts: Oh, well.
Speaker 1: And there’s a microphone right behind you.
Andrea Roberts: Where is it?
Speaker 1: Right on the stand behind you.
Andrea Roberts: Well, there is a wonderful exhibit at the Bullock right now about Texas Freedom Colonies and it includes a film. And what’s important about that film, and I want everyone to go see it and the film is available online at the Bullock website, is not so much that it includes yours truly, but more importantly it includes the story of Gloria Smith. And Gloria Smith is one of our grassroots freedom colony activists and grassroots preservationists, and she’s emblematic of so many people who are trying to save the last remaining historic features in their community. Hers is a historic church over 148 years old, I think. Just wonderful, beautiful church. And the film again is available online, but it’s also the exhibit and there’s other freedom colonies, Antioch Colony, which is in Buda, that are featured in that exhibit. So I encourage everyone to go by and take a look at it.
Speaker 1: And finally, one of the more important rural landscapes that we’re not really talking much about today are cemeteries and Perky is very involved with the Association for Gravestone Sites. You might tell us a little bit about the upcoming conference.
Perky Beisel: Yes. The national conference will be… Did I turn it off?
Andrea Roberts: No, it’s fine.
Perky Beisel: Okay. This’ll be the first time the AGS is coming to Texas. After decades of New England, it’s moving out and this is a wonderful opportunity for people involved in cemeteries in any form or fashion, management, conservation, interpretation, planning, documentation, to share ideas and get ideas from people who have been doing this for decades from all around the country. And some will be in Austin in June and you can check out more at the AGS website. But we will have a hands-on conservation workshop that will be held there with some really amazing people. And so it’ll be a neat opportunity to ask all the questions you can think of and the conversation start at seven in the morning and go to about midnight every day. So…
Speaker 1: Well, thank you again to our panel. We appreciate your involvement today and your work. Thank you.