A Modern Harvest by Jason Nelson

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 12.21.14 AM

the circles divide when you mouse over which is a fun thing.

A Modern Harvest by Jason Nelson a series of pages linked together featuring images with text explaining, in a very lofty and metaphoric way, what was going on in that element of the picture. The main theme throughout the piece seems to be about a loss of humanity in the modern world. That people no longer farm, but instead reap and “harvest” different items from people and/or retail outlets that are similarly the fruits of their toils. However, this new bounty is not as sweet or genuine.

In the first few pages of the piece the reader is presented with photographs. When the reader moves their mouse over certain objects in the photo, text appears, either describing some sort of back story of the object, or what it means. Some of these hit home for me as meaning something, while others just seemed like complete nonsense.

what exactly "this is where the wood sleeps," I have no idea

what exactly “this is where the wood sleeps,” I have no idea

 

 

This one hits a little better, at least the part about mass manufactured quilts being fabricated versions of something that normally praised for being homemade

This one hits a little better, at least the part about mass manufactured quilts being fabricated versions of something that normally praised for being homemade

That is not to say that there is nothing here. The whole piece pounds into the reader that our sort of extreme post-industrial capitalism complex thing is destroying our humanity. That works well at points, but at other points it seems, to me at least, to be overdone and made cryptic for the sake of being cryptic.

The music is also an element that has to be considered, as it is prevalent in the first few pages, but disappears in the mall. Prior to the mall, it seems to fit the room that it was matched with pretty well. What the lack of music in the mall means, I am not sure.

The artistic design here can be interesting, particularly the drawing on the photos which seem to be done in Microsoft Paint

The artistic design here can be interesting, particularly the drawing on the photos which seem to be done in Microsoft Paint

The mall was one section I enjoyed. The overall maze aspect of trying to find the different areas of the mall worked well, and the purposeless exit sign was pretty funny.

The mall was one section I enjoyed. The overall maze aspect of trying to find the different areas of the mall worked well, and the purposeless exit sign was pretty funny.

Overall, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this piece, it works well in places, and doesn’t in others. As an entire piece it seems to lack cohesion, other than that of lost humanity in today’s world. But maybe that is just me. Or maybe that’s the point. What do you think?

http://www.secrettechnology.com/harvest/

  5 comments for “A Modern Harvest by Jason Nelson

  1. mstough
    January 27, 2014 at 9:59 am

    The tone throughout this piece seems like that of an angry teenager who is hating where he grew up and the culture that surrounds him for petty reasons. I don’t think the problems raised here are unique to the area, nor do they seem like problems that really matter. The narrator seems really judgmental in the commentary about the rooms of the house with quips about lace curtains and American flags hanging over windows and purchasing culture in the form of art to hang on a living room wall. I think the unjust anger really prevents me from being able to believe that the information being throw at me is a legitimate issue and not just some kid who thinks life is better elsewhere. I do agree that the most interesting part is the mall where there is a lot of content to surf through and it seems to be the most poetic of all the parts. Likewise, the Microsoft Paint drawings throughout gave this a very juvenile sense like the narrator is some amateur graffiti artist in the digital age. It definitely gave the piece some humor, but I’m not sure if that was what the creator intended. Do you think this piece could be more a commentary on the jaded youth and how they bemoan everything about where they grow up rather than the consumerist ideas that are actually being discussed here?

    • January 27, 2014 at 10:47 pm

      Maggie, despite your claim that this is about problems that don’t matter and your suggestion that it looks like it was made by a child, the piece seems to have had some impact on you to produce such a strong response. But where you see petty anger and vandalism, I see humor, poetry, commentary. Silliness, perhaps.

      In fact, the only sense of youthfulness I get from it is in an underlying sense of memory, nostalgia, loss. The idea that growing up means giving up. These are themes in Nelson’s work, I’d argue.

  2. karmakona
    January 27, 2014 at 11:16 am

    What I find odd is that in the house, some of the excerpts seem so intimate, like the detail about how the blue chair in the living room remains pristine because the only person who was allowed to sit in it has died and was resurrected. But at the same time, other objects in the house are described in such a vague, removed way that the viewer is left to wonder if the author is familiar with those surroundings at all. In the garage, most of the excerpts are questionable, beginning with words like “maybe” “possibly” and “I’m assuming this is what I say it is.” It takes away from the rest of the blurb, and makes the author seem less credible.
    In contrast to the both of you, the mall was my least favorite part of the piece. It was not visually stimulating, with the words connected to one of one hundred tiles on the floor or one of the lightbulbs on the ceiling. And even though the auditory contribution to the other parts of the house weren’t all that impressive, it still added something to consider, and made the silence of the mall more drowning.

    • January 27, 2014 at 10:48 pm

      the silence of the mall more drowning

      That sounds pretty intense.

  3. nbemis
    January 27, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    I was honestly a bit confused by the tonal shift from the house to some of the mall verses. While the overall cynicism of the piece remains mostly constant, there was a verse about a baby and a robot patrolling the mall and fighting crime, and another about kids kicking holes in the walls trying to look for gold. I realize that these are but two verses among forty in the mall, but they take away from the dreariness of the piece, making it whimsical in places. I like these verses (in fact, they were my favorites), but I believe that they take away from a piece which seems meant to convey the idea of American moral decay.

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