World traveled artifact highlights Taylor Horsefest

The 2014 Taylor Horsefest is just around the corner. The 21st annual two-day event will be held in Taylor, N.D. on July 26 and 27 and features activities for the whole family.

BLOCH

Posted July 18, 2014

By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor | cbenz@countrymedia.net

The 2014 Taylor Horsefest is just around the corner. The 21st annual two-day event will be held in Taylor, N.D. on July 26 and 27 and features activities for the whole family. From exhibits, crafts, food vendors and musical entertainment there is something people of all ages can enjoy.

Highlighting the event will be the arrival of the ‘BLOCH.’

What is the ‘Bloch’ you might ask? BLOCH is a global art project originating from the region of Appenzell in Switzerland. Tradition goes that as the last tree is felled (chopped down), the trunk (known as the ‘BLOCH’) is pulled out by 20 men from the village of Urnåsch to Herisau and back.

The procession is a one-day process and at the end of the event the trunk is auctioned off to the highest bidder. Usually the fate of the trunk is to be processed into furniture or other wood products, but in 2011 the ‘BLOCH’ of that season was saved by two artists.

The two known as Com&Com (Marcus Gossolt/Johannes M. Hedinger) purchased the trunk with plans for a larger destiny than a being carved into a rocking chair.

Instead of traveling between the two villages, the plan is to travel on a grander scheme, they’ll be taking their travels globally.

The goal of this expedition is to get conversations going among the multitude of cultures around the world. By participating in this event, the hope of the artists is that cultures, customs and traditions between people will get a worldwide conversation started.

The tree log will also be followed along the way by documentarians, with a publication, a 90-minute documentary film (by Fabian Kaiser), and an exhibit being produced.

The duo plans on making at least one stop in every continent on the planet. The travels started in 2012 in Europe, stopping in Switzerland and Germany. In 2013 the ‘BLOCH’ stopped off in Asia (China, Taiwan, and Singapore). The next stop, North America. Chosen to host the artifact from North America by a partnership with the North Dakota Council on the Arts; Troyd Geist, state folklorist; and Barbar Hauser (from Zurich, Switzerland0 who studied Fine Arts and Linguistics in North Dakota, according to a written press release. According to the report, the area is most suited for the ‘BLOCH’ because it contains the geographical center of the continent and Turtle Mountain.  According to Ojibway mythology, “Sky Woman” with the help of a muskrat caused “Turtle Island” (North America and the world) to re-emerge after the Great Flood.

While in Taylor, the ‘BLOCH’ will be a main feature of the parade, ranchers will be burring their branders into the wood, blacksmiths will tack horse shoes on to it, and children will be able to participate in games involving the large trunk. Music from Larsen Brothers (from Taylor), and Rex Cook will create a leather belt to be placed on the item and travel with it as it makes future stops around the globe.

Taylor is one of only six stops the ‘BLOCH’ will make in North Dakota. Other stops involve the Downtown Fargo Street Fair (July 17-19), Napoleon and the Nokota Hose Conservancy in Linton (July 25), Fort Totten Days, Spirit Lake Indian Reservation (July 27), Rugdby (July 28), Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation (July 29-31), and back to the Fargo-Moorhead area at the Hjemkmost Center (Aug. 3).

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