The Ladies’ Society of Alchemical Agriculture is a carnival wagon whose form echoes a work shed in the rural American vernacular. It functions as a laboratory and exposition booth, reflecting a collision of 4-H club science, home economics and animal husbandry exhibits. On display inside the wagon are a number of living terrariums, full of natural and cultural materials collected from around the Americas that have been selected on the basis of their purported desirability. These materials include local epicurean delights, urban detritus and the distinct self-contained ecosystems that propagate around these. Also on view are a series of clockwork automata of biological anomalies and artificial confections in varying stages of mutation and putrefaction.
On the day of the opening of State Fair, Dana Sherwood and The Black Forest Fancies will be hosting an old-fashioned, country fair style cakewalk with a twist. Traditionally, a cakewalk is a party game similar to musical chairs in which the winner of each round is rewarded with a cake. In their version, a barker will direct the players to live musical accompaniment as they make their way around a series of decorative mats depicting barnyard animals, and the winner will be invited to sit in the prize cake. Participation is open to all. Audience members are encouraged to play at the start of each round.