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GALLERY 2013

visual communication practice

The Seed Swatches
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Description of idea

Describe your idea and concept of your work in relation to the festival outlines:

10 corporations control 32% of commercial-seed market & 100% of the market for genetically
engineered or transgenic seeds. With the need for pesticides to control these crops farmers are then forced to purchase chemicals also owned by these organisations and in turn seed crops fail, farmer’s lose seasonal produce, which then results in loss of seasonal produce, farmland and livelihood.

Specifically, global corporations are patenting seed varietals therefore forcing local farmers to buy the rights to growing that stream of seed or grain, reducing availability and affordability to seed. Economic gain has been put ahead of staple food. As a result of hybrid seed varieties and the pests and weeds they bring along with them, traditional seeds are becoming extinct and endangered. This situation is being pushed under the rug and going unnoticed in developed countries where a vast amount of produce is traded and imported. Local emphasis and support has been lost in the global corporations push for economic gain.

In order to make a change and place emphasis on ensuring seed survival, this concept aims at raising awareness and the public figure of the issue at hand. The Seed Swatches is a publication and website, with the following aims:

- To spread knowledge and raise awareness of the issue of the extinction of seeds
- To make the issue more transparent
- To help prevent further extinction of seed species

The publication is a booklet / pocket guide style, which is a free publication distributed quarterly. The website is an extension of this booklet with additional information on each of the topics discussed within.

By highlighting the reality that strands of seeds are becoming endangered or much more, extinct, The Seed Swatches aims at connecting this truth with measures, which can be taken to prevent it. By creating a publication and website that people can readily connect with I am attempted to raise their awareness of the issue and therefore become more active in their participation in changing the course of seed extinction. In particular, I am attempting to create an active audience rather than a passive one, in which people can become involved in local campaigns, petitions, organisations and movements which are dedicated to the support and promotion of Food Democracy and Seed Survival.

What kind of communication approach do you use?

This work is materialised in the form of a free print publication (distributed quarterly) and a website.
The publication is in a small booklet size format, drawing similarities to that of a scaled down newspaper
or tabloid newspaper. I envisage the booklet being displayed in areas of high turnover which may include
public transport stops and depots, shopping centres and outdoor commercial strips, farmers’ markets
etc. The publication allows for the messages of food democracy and seed sovereignty to be distributed
amongst the people, on the road, being put in front of people.
The website is an extended version of the printed publication which covers the content of each quarter,
however further expands and extends on each of the topics within the publication. Further, the website
is up to the minute information and continually being modified to contain the most recent and relevant
information on the matter. The website allows people to instantly be connected to campaigns, organisations,
petitions and contacts regarding the matter at hand.
Both the website and publication respond to the theme of Food Democracy, placing specific emphasis
on the need for seed soverignty by placing the issue amongst the people to be taken notice of. I wanted
people to be able to interact and feel there were outlets for them to get involved and respond to what
they were reading. As such, both the website and printed publication provide details on the latest campaigners
and campaigns, and on the street

What are in your opinion concrete benefits to the society because of your communication?

There are many benefits to the The Seed Swatches.
-- Many of us are unaware of the severity of the issue of the extinction of seeds and grains, and the ongoing effects and impacts that global corporations are instilling on local farmers when seeds are patented. By making this a ‘local’ issue that is as accessible as picking up a free publication it aims are spreading knowledge on the matter and promoting action
-- Creating awareness through the publication and website will provide an insight into the issue, locally, nationally and internationally
-- The Seed Swatches provides realistic measures to discourage the extinction of seed and the patent of seed (e.g. petitions, campaigns, information on locally sources products etc)
-- As a designer it is important to work towards what you believe, and in my view this is to be socially responsible. By creating The Seed Swatches, I aimed to design and create a medium to portray a stimulating and responsible subject, whilst reaching an aesthetically pleasing outcome
-- The website and free publication aim to grab the attention of viewers through visually stimulating mediums while spreading the word on a major global issue

What did you personally learn from creating your submitted work?

Food Democracy is a global issue which is effecting every individual in some way or shape, whether or not they are aware. This assignment allowed me to explore the topic of food democracy, to look at its extent and the measures which are being taken to counteract it. From here, it was important for me to establish ways in which the ordinary, every day person could become involved. As mentioned, it’s easy enough to be a passive viewer, much more difficult to make an active participant.

As such, as a designer I wanted to create an outcome on the topic of food democracy and more specifically seed sovereignty, that would appeal to the average person to pick up, read and become involved. I wanted to make the issue of promoting and ensuring seed sovereignty assessible to everyday people to become active members. I learnt that it is important to educate people of the situation of food democracy, while also providing avenues and opportunities for change for the better.

This exercise reinstilled in me that it is imperative that we all look into the issue of food democracy, gain knowledge on the matter and become educated on it to make informed decisions about the food that we eat, and the actions (if any) we take to counter act food democracy and ensure healthy and suitable food is available to all individuals. This project allowed me to look at my approach to food, and making informed decisions.

Why is your work, GOOD communication WORK?

The Seed Swatches is good communication work as:
-- it is functional, aesthetically pleasing and most importantly informative
-- it is accessible to a wide audience
-- it provides an output for a topic which in my opinion is not currently being exercised
-- the website provides an interactive element which the viewer can become actively engaged in the
promotion of food democracy and seed sovereignty
-- it provides current and up to date information regarding the issue of food democracy and seed
sovereignty

Where and how do you intent do implement your work?

The Seed Swatches publication:
-- public transport areas / depots
-- local farmers’ markets
-- malls and shopping areas, shopping centres
-- education and learning facilities (i.e. high schools, universities, TAFEs etc)
-- commercial strips
-- public areas / pathways (i..e where mX is distributed)
-- target local bars, restaurants, cafes where locally sourced produce is promoted
-- organic and local health food stores
The Seed Swatches website:
-- permanent online presence
-- promoted on other food democracy websites
-- promoted on locally sourced produce websites (i.e. local markets, local cafes etc)

Did your intervention had an effect on other Media. If yes, describe the effect? (Has other media reported on it- how? Were you able to change other media with your work- how?)

NA


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Entry details

Title

The Seed Swatches


Headline

The Seed Swatches


Concept author(s)

Mijan Patterson


Concept author year(s) of birth

1985


Concept author(s) contribution

Creator


Country

Australia


Designer(s)

Mijan Patterson


Designer(s) year(s) of birth

1985


Designer(s) contribution

Creator


Country

Australia


Competition category

visual communication practice


Competition subcategory

static


Competition field

academic


Competition subfield

student


Subfield description

Bachelor of Design (Visual Communication Design)