I was asked to place a temporary installation in a museum devoted to the Roquefort sheep that populated our region of France. I wanted to use skeins of wool and other implements farmers employed to corral the sheep, such as metal stakes and solar-powered electric fences.
I kept watching the herds of sheep in my neighbors’ pastures, wondering about the average number of black sheep compared to the white ones and whether they were celebrated or discriminated against. I planned to deal the same deck of cards that I’d used in Château de cartes to determine which sheep would be chosen in the herd of fifty-two and dye the Queen of Hearts’ skeins black.
I decided to use three skeins on a fence stake for each sheep, but because the show would only be up for two days, I ordered raw linen cord from our local hardware store instead of wool, which would have tripled the cost. When it arrived, the odor of the raw linen was so overpowering I was forced to install the piece outdoors on the lawn of the museum, right next to a pen of sheep. They loved the barnyard smell of the linen cord.
I overheard one of the attending sheep farmers analyzing the piece with a friend. “I think it’s about chance, don’t you?” he said. “Luck of the draw.”
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