Snake, snake, run in the grass;
And I’ll not hurt you as you pass.
“Another thing I believe, when a dog howls that awful pitiful howl, someone will die. Well, the truth is they always do. We had a dog about two years ago and one night it started that mournful howling, that makes the cold chills run all over you, out in the yard. I made my husband get up and go out and stop the dog. He no sooner got back in bed until the dog started again. I said, ‘Get up and put the dog in the kitchen, maybe it’s cold.’ I didn’t want to think it was a warning. He put the dog on some old carpets, then went back to bed. About three o’clock that dog started again that mournful howl, getting us all out of bed. That was the third time that night. And it was no time until we got word my brother was killed about three o’clock that morning just when the dog gave its last howling. So the dog was giving us the warning.”
14693, “Folk-Lore from Adams County Illinois” 1935
JOAN presents N.I.R., an installation by Jason Metcalf of his pseudo-ostensive works, culled from his extensive personal collection of folklore.
The superstitious objects, rituals, and images will provide various benefits to the new inhabitants: blessing, good luck, good dreams, contentment, health, wealth, prosperity, and the talismanic warding off of unwanted beings. In advance of the inaugural opening of JOAN in March, Metcalf began the process of purification: “To cleanse a new home, sweep the place in its entirety, at high noon, and dispose all of the debris and dust into an outer wall of the structure. Then burn the broom and also place the ashes of it in the same wall where the dust was put. The final thing to do is to seal it all up in the wall with fresh plaster.”
Metcalf’s initiation of JOAN is articulated through a series of ritualistic actions and placements. Set in the corners, cracks, and rafters, many of the works will remain in the space beyond the exhibition period, thus maintaining their sympathetic magic while becoming fixed tokens in the living community space.