“What’s in a name? For over three years, husband-and-wife team Douglas Gayeton and Laura Howard-Gayeton have been exploring this question with their multimedia project, “The Lexicon of Sustainability.” When you see the words “cage-free,” “organic” and “pasture-raised” on a carton of eggs, what does it really mean? Can these labels change a consumer’s perception of quality and impact their decision-making? Can language influence the way food is produced and purchased today? [MORE]
What greater stupidity can be imagined than that of calling jewels, silver, and gold “precious,” and earth and soil “base”? People who do this ought to remember that if there were as great a scarcity of soil as of jewels or precious metals, there would not be a prince who would not spend a bushel of diamonds and rubies and a cartload of gold just to have enough earth to plant a jasmine in a little pot, or to sow an orange seed and watch it sprout, grow, and produce its handsome leaves, its fragrant flowers, and fine fruit.
Earth Island Institute
Global Director of Local sites for Yahoo
Creative Director, AOL
Head of Mobile Services, Disney
CEO and Founder
Scrollmotion and Iceberg Reader
Creator of Business Dictionary of Sustainability
Executive Director of Slow Money
PAUL JOHNSON (Sustainable Fisheries Advisor)
JUDITH REDMOND (Sustainable Ag Advisor)
Full Belly Farm
BEN FLANNER (Sustainable Urban Ag Advisor)
ALEXIS KOEFOED (Sustainable Poultry Advisor)
Soul Food Farm
ALBERT STRAUS (Sustainable Dairy Advisor)
Straus Family Creamery
Anyone can curate a show … here’s a few upcoming events.
SUSTAINABLE OPERATIONS SUMMIT
Empire State Building
2ND ANNUAL LETS TALK ABOUT FOOD FESTIVAL
NOVATO HIGH SCHOOL
Kim Fox Johnson
SONOMA STATE UNIVERISTY EVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGY CENTER’S
TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY
April 20th, 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Dr. Rocky Rohwedder
BROOKSIDE FARMERS MARKET
Kansas City, KS
ESALEN EARTH WEEK
Big Sur, CA
LEXICON POP UP SHOW CURATOR APPROVED.
We just approved the Oregon County Food Producers’ and Artisan Co-Op and curator Rachel Reynolds Luster.
Their upcoming shows:
April 20th: Couch School Earth Day Event
April 21-22: Go Green Festival
May: 12, 19, 26: Juggbutt’s Coffee House and Community Center
May 20: Ozarks Sustainability Festival
To apply to curate your own Pop Up show, go to: http://www.lexiconofsustainability.com/pop-up-art-shows/
Museum of Science. Boston, MA
June 16 – 2nd Annual Let’s Talk About Food Festival
Meet Food “Information Artist” Douglas Gayeton
Douglas Gayeton, the author of Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town, has been exploring the principles of sustainability through photography, taking abstract concepts and turning them into annotated infographics—or “information art.” It’s part an ongoing series called The Lexicon of Sustainability.
The images convey invisible or purposely obfuscated ideas related to food, and the concepts are explained by the experts themselves, like Elaine Ingham (above) translating soil science and microbiology for the masses. Paul Stamens (in the photo below) explains the concept of myco-remediation. I talked with Gayeton about the project from his home in Petaluma, California.
How did you come up with the concept and what do you hope these images will convey?
Images often leave you asking more questions than providing answers. When I see a photo, what I want to know is not always explained. So, I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be great if I could include an image and then include all the things that you’d want to know if you were looking at the image?” I began to make images and have people talk about them, essentially describing what’s happening. I really wanted to demystify the language of sustainability.
The process—information art—takes complicated ideas and makes them simple to understand. The Lexicon Project started with food and farming and now it’s looking at climate change and water. We’re starting to get into technical exploration of ideas. It’s almost a formula—in much the same the way in physics that you create a formula to describe an activity or an action in the physical world. That formulaic approach your see—used in physics or math—is the same type of construction that I use for the images. More than a construction actually, these images are a deconstruction of ideas, reducing them to their essence, then trying to find a way to graphically represent them. Somebody once wrote that one of the interesting thing about the work is that it works the way a mind works: If I were to simply give you a piece of paper with a lot of writing on it, you might skim over it; but if I were to take a bunch of ideas and place them on an image, then you are suddenly active in the idea. You’re active in the appreciation of the idea. That activity creates a narrative and makes it easier to retain information. You have more of a deeper connection…. It’s not a passive experience. The active experience of turning the reading of something into it’s almost a game-like quality, I think it allows people to connect more intimately with the ideas and images.
Douglas Gayeton is planning 500 pop-up shows this summer, and anyone can be apply to be curatorhere.
Just Starting Your Food Journey? These Words Might Help
For so many of us waking up to the realities of our food supply, it often feels like we are learning a new language. And in all honesty, that is very much the case.
“WORDS ARE THE BUILDING BLOCKS FOR NEW IDEAS.
THEY HAVE THE POWER TO ACTIVATE CHANGE AND TRANSFORM SOCIETIES.”
OK, so that’s powerful stuff. But with new terms, phrases and words being slapped on the side of our food products, it’s enough to make anyone’s head spin.
And we’re not just talking about words like “natural” (which has no definition and even the FDA says “it is difficult to define“) or terms like “USDA Organic” (which actually means a lot and defines a legal standard of food production), but a whole new vocabulary around “sustainable” food.
But right there, there’s a problem, because what might be sustainable to one person (fast, convenient, cheap) in the short-term, might also prove detrimental in the long-term.
Which is why a new project called “The Lexicon of Sustainability” is so interesting.
“If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything.”
One of our Lexicon subjects is starting her own restaurant in Marin’s Country Mart. Come out next week for a show of Lexicon images, plus auction supporting MALT.