Monday, September 10, 2007

San FraNcisco Round 2 1/2

With bellies topped high with Yucatecan delights, we have made it home to the haven of my sister's apartment. With full speed apartment construction over head, we are due in for a rest after our third day of research and true and pure foraging. Early this morning, we made it out to 8th and Folsom st. to browse the Prelinger Library. The Prelinger Library was created by two individuals with interest in archiving specialty information. Amidst the 6 main shelving units, we gently scanned the racks for process research. This sort of foraging inadvertently assist Joanna and I to be attentive to what we are passionate and fascinated by. Joanna found a pamphlet on ethylene, a chemical sprayed on fruit for transport, potato varieties from the 60's and a guide to growing potatoes for French fries. I took a look into mapping guides, insect diagrams, historic automotive travel and naturalist guides. Megan who runs the shop was very welcoming and personable and her partner in crime was equally helpful and encouraged us to browse through their wonderfully labeled and archived boxes of what has become their ephemeral collection. Luckily the meeting that was taking place in the front open air office was full with chat and dutiful progress of the local agriculture, and sustainable living, which is thoughtfully addressed in their extensive collection of USDA manuals from the mid-50's through to present. Many of their larger collection generously came from larger libraries that have closed or rid of large surpluses and editions. A surprising number of excess publications get sent into a vault through the library of congress. It is lucky for us that we got to discover these publications, some beautifully kept from 1903 and beyond.

This research, and insight into agriculture and the environment is fascinating in a time when we are just starting to heavily question progress, process and the quality of living, eating and educating. The information has always been published and available, but somehow seeing toxic chemicals foil stamped on a canvas 150 page hand bound book makes the information seem precious and slightly frightening all in the same sentence. Vintage publications are not current and often outdated in scientific facts and theory. Knowing that at one time this information was fact, is enough to stir the spirit and further encourage us to answer the questions we have embarked to answer....what do people know? Is progress happening? and what is progress?

We can't find progress in these books necessarily, but they contribute to this wonderful vocabulary that we are developing, daily..through passing fields, alley ways, libraries, visiting art shows, picking up local publications, and ultimately piecing together the many layers into a body of work and an inspiration for our travel...inner-city and wild mountain rural

Here's a cheers to my new by the pound red polka dot shirt, to an afternoon of tea and the delight in being able to share with web visitors the collection of portraits from the state fair.