Franek Wardyński
    / Teaching

    / Bivouac Marfa


To bivouac is to set up temporary camp—without tents or cover—in unfamiliar terrain.

BIVOUAC: Marfa was a day long symposium and public dialog. Following on the heels of 2019 Chinati Weekend, Bivouac was a chance to percolate and generate new ideas in one of the most inspiring sites for the intersection art, architecture, landscape, and ambition, located in West Texas.

BIVOUAC: Marfa was hosted by Land Arts of the American West at Texas Tech University, a transdisciplinary field program based in the College of Architecture dedicated to expanding awareness of the intersection of human construction and the evolving nature of our planet.

Together with Lia Forslund, we have been talking about two projects in progress, Spectre and Flatlands.


Spectre, brings expected scenes, albeit an unexpected character of an American Western, into interpretations of the landscape the artist duo grew up romanticising from afar. In an investigation of the land, the duo applies the scenes of Westerns, imparted on them by daily TV matinee broadcast in the artists’ native Europe. The inherent fascination of the Western’s aesthetics and the newfound captivation of the geography is the foundation for a fiction, starring a stranger surveying his surroundings using old gestures and an outsiders’ lens. Grounded in memories of adventures and dramatic turns, Spectre is immediately familiar, complete with genre clichés, yet somewhat odd, bizarrely foreign with a searching trajectory. A loner—dotting the horizon, walking on dirt roads or in the streets of small pueblos—the protagonist has been dropped into the West, like Crusoe or ET; indoctrinated by the TV-screen, he is prepared to interact upon his arrival.


The tales of Curtis Francisco conjure scenes: short stories, just a couple of pages long. You are presented with variables in a script: day or night, interior or exterior, landscapes and you meet your protagonist—sister Christine and her unlawful ex-boyfriend, Uncle Arthur that built a house and died of cancer shortly after, cousin June the lawyer of the family, Grandma Lucia who lived to 101 years old and the Chinese colonel who built a house for his sheep—in minutes, you are immersed in a setting—the social fabric of Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico. The stories are generous but not always cheerful, though they certainly capture something specific in the relationship between the land and its people: they portray delicate narratives, stories of lives deconstructed in and around the Jack Pile mine since the 60s through to today, stories full of honesty, premonitions and subtle turns.