[ H E R D ]: an educational tool
was developed over the course of several trips to the farm of local Swiss sheep farmers, Franz and Silvia Rouss. During these visits, I was able to observe the daily farm routines, and learned about their self-designed sheep archive, which included a handwritten logbook of all the sheep’s ear tags from last 20 years. I learned to milk each sheep, and filmed their movements.
In an effort to identify individual sheep within the heard, I developed my own catalog and facial tracking system. With the help of Franz Rouss, I utilized the milking process to document every individual within the herd. The resulting installation [H.E.R.D]: an educational tool includes a composite video of all of the herd being milked simultaneously, and a log book that identifies each sheep’s tag number, milking group, and milking position, as well as observational notes that document each sheep’s mobility, and general attitude. Alongside this, is a video of the facial tracking software identify specific sheep grazing in the field, and the barn. A corresponding worksheet allows viewers to test their identification abilities, by matching individual sheep to their tracking color. Audio plays over the installation identifying individual sheep ‘bahs’, and photos of the sheep tags hang on a small ladder from the farm. Finally, a sample of sheep’s wool, and several different samples of sheep’s milk are also displayed.