Jennie M. Conrad is a nearly forgotten part of a local history whose story is that of the “hard-edged business woman”. A successful Indiana hog farmer, she is written about by local historians and bloggers, all of whom pay special attention to her “disagreeable” qualities—her uncompromising nature, her inability to get along with her neighbors, her willingness to exploit natural resources for personal gain. For having had such an enormous impact on the local ecology and economy, history continues to write about her as a tabloid blurp.
I wonder about Jennie Conrad, if it was her “unsociable” nature that kept her from traditional feminine spheres causing her to seek out more “masculine” business pursuits, or if it was her business savvy that was then read as the “ruthlessness” and “nastiness” that describes her.
This scene positions viewers opposite each other with two pairs of headphones. One pair is on a long cord, allowing the viewer to stand and listen to a male voice recite records of Conrad’s hog sales, detailing the price, buyer, name of the hog, and physical make up. A female voice chimes in occasionally, “Make me an offer”. The other pair of headphones is on a short cord, so that the participant must be on the ground, face only inches from the deck boards. The audio is a contemporary country song called Honky Tonk Badonkadonk, which describes a woman, much in the same way as the opposite pair of headphones describes the livestock sales.