“LIFECYCLES” | Matthew Moore
[New Frontier Performances and Installations]
As a fourth-generation farmer, there seems to be an endless supply of crossroads while growing produce where, unlike in an editing program, you cannot undo the last 50 decisions you have made. What day to plant, how many seeds to place in a foot, how long to water, is that a weed, should I pull it? So here is a brilliant idea — how about I film that process? Hopefully the seed I placed in focus under the lens is the one that will emerge unscathed. That is how my project “lifecycles” began. Unfortunately all manner of animals and insects heard about my idea and were waiting in the weeds, as it were, to snack on my precious documentary subjects. I have found that releasing the vision of how the film should look in my head has been the most difficult endeavor of this project. I initially envisioned a consistent, flawless specimen growing before the viewer’s eyes. This is the point where the artist in me collided with the farmer, and thankfully, the farmer prevailed on this one. As plants don’t grow in a vacuum, who am I to try and make a whitewashed version of the natural world at work. In retrospect, that is actually pretty boring to watch. What makes farming exciting is that no matter how many years you do it, and how many times you grow the same crop, each day brings a complete new set of considerations that you have never experienced.
I do feel that this will benefit the project in the long run as the goal is to have farmers documenting their crops so we can learn, enjoy and better understand how our food is created. The process is truly a gift and a royal pain in the ass at the same time. I suppose the same can be said about the creative journey of filmmaking as well.