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The work in my senior show is a representation on how I feel about conventional focusing specifically on corn. The reason that I have chosen corn is because it is one of the most detrimental crops that we are growing in the US. It is grown specifically for livestock feed and ethanol with a minimal fraction for direct human consumption. Corn itself offers minimal nutritional benefits in comparison to most other vegetable crops and the overproduction of corn crops decreases the benefits all the more.
- Woodblock Print Series: The extent of how much land is actually used for corn production in relation to other vegetable crops is a staggering figure when regarded on its own. However, finding these actual statistics is not an easy task. When looking at USDA agricultural surveys you encounter roughly 700 pages of farming statistics. Sifting through all that data is a daunting task even for the most determined of people. In a way I believe that this is almost a tactic used by Big Agriculture in order to make it as hard as possible for people to see what is really going on. Therefor in my woodblock print series, I sifted through the 695 pages of the 2012 Agricultural Survey to find what I believe to be the most important statistics and transcribed them onto woodblock prints. To convey what a backwards agricultural system we have in place in the US, I reversed the direction of the charts and the title of the piece in order to distract the viewer and force them to read everything in a backwards manner.
- Cans on Shelf Sculpture: This sculpture is a direct representation of the ratio between corn land and fresh vegetable land use in the United States. The exact ratio according to 2014 USDA Agricultural Survey is: .09% total US land area for fresh market vegetables compared to 4.1% total US land area for corn land. In order to really get a full grasp of how much land this really is, take into consideration that all of New England makes up 1.8% of total US land area which is less than half as much land as is used to grow corn.
- Table with Corn Sculpture: This sculpture represents what we indirectly eat in many of our meals. Corn starch and oil is in an enormous proportion of the food we eat and is in many foods we don’t even realize that it is in. Along with this almost all livestock in the US is fed corn feed every single day. The animals eating this feed often only ever eat it throughout their short lives leaving them unhealthy, diseased, and full of antibiotics and hormones. Therefor the health benefits from eating this meat are next to nil and the detrimental effect on our own bodies has yet to be seen. An eye-opening study done by plant biologist Todd Dawson found that the 69% of the carbon makeup of an average American’s hair came from corn.
- Self-Portrait Sculpture: I myself am one of the many Americans that is an omnivore and throughout my own life; I have eaten my fair share of industrially farmed meat as well as food loaded with calories from corn. The more I consider the detrimental effects that my average lifestyle has on both the environment and on my own body, I feel physically ill. Although I am not as wasteful as many, no matter how hard we try, it is literally impossible in this day and age not to negatively affect the earth but the only hope we have is to slow the damage.
These works are presented in the show as almost a narrative beginning the cans on the shelf as the purchasing of the advertised product, the table as the consumption of the product, and the self-portrait as the rejection the product and corn production as a whole. Throughout all of the artwork in my show my goal is to convey the issues of corn production in a very minimalist way. Although these issues are truly very complex, sometimes they can be too overwhelming to fully process. Therefor I see my work as more of a conversation starter and through it I hope to encourage a discussion about what we put in our bodies and how we treat our land.
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Stevens-Lubin, Leo Dylan, "The Golden Pandemic" (2016). Senior Projects Spring 2016. 378.
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