Region/Concept: North America, Body
Sub-Concepts: Assemblage, Channeling, Attunement, Health
Description: Nebraska “eccentric” Emery Blagdon assembles an elaborate machine in his shed to channel and tune ambient energies in ways that bring health to his body.

For as long as a body is alive, it is constantly bombarded and traversed by movements of energy, which become, on contact with the receptive body, sensations. Sensation is a ceaselessly rippling ocean, which drowns the body, or adorns it with shimmering gowns of foam. Overwhelming; one struggles to keep one’s breath. Totally immersive, even when the consciousness tricks itself into being bored, banishing itself on a desert island, desiccating in the sun, always on the verge of being swept away again. The prairies are another kind of ocean, crisscrossed by fences and archipelagos of farmhouses and barns. The currents of the wind in the grass, patterns of migration, lines of commerce, signals broadcast from distant towers, the sounds of the insects and the light of the stars, converging on a body in unforeseen and uncontrollable ways. Unforeseen and uncontrollable, at least, for those without the proper sensory mechanisms. Emery Blagdon is a prairie dweller who has constructed his own mechanisms for this purpose, to receive these signals and to tune them to maximize what he calls his “health.” Using scrap wire, radio and television parts, raw earth elements and other found materials, Blagdon assembles sculptures and installations in his shed that work together to channel and intensify specific energies that resonate with his body, as an extension of his own singular capacities to sense. Although he does not consider himself to be an artist, just a person building a machine, the intricate precision of his mechanisms emerges from an intuition and a physical sensation that is constantly shifting with the changing energies: when they are functioning properly, he calls them his “pretties.” In this sense, he performs the action of an artist perfectly, as an experimenter of sensory mechanics. But however one categorizes his work, it is essentially the creation of a living body, awash in fields and flows of energy, attempting to channel these movements in accordance with its own singular powers of health, since the only alternative is total surrender to the indifferent and perpetually churning waves of the outside.


Will Scarlett