What is this project?
“Oh, It’s Okay! I can say that because …” is G. Appleseed’s flagship seedsewing project. G. Appleseed selected 50 individuals, organizations, and groups throughout the US to receive a small box of stickers printed with statements you’ve probably heard from your friends, family, coworkers, or you yourself. Statements (and sentiments) like these often get used to qualify, justify, defend, or explain a joke or a comment which might otherwise be taken as racist, homophobic, sizeist, sexist etc.
G choose individuals and organizations that they believe are likely to be asking similar questions. They may have what G thinks of as an already established nursery, or maybe they live on fertile ground for questions. Like Johnny Appleseed, G is out and about, looking for the best places to cultivate seeds. G wants to extend his network of thinkers and growers, and G hopes to participate, engage and support ongoing work for social justice, equality, and identity politics.
*These stickers aren’t intended to condemn or to support the use of these statements, but to call attention to the passing moments where we talk about who we are and how we think of ourselves, in support of a greater capacity for compassion and critical awareness.
How much does context change the meaning of words?
Do relationships between people change the meaning of words?
Is it possible to make jokes about stereotypes without reinforcing them?
These questions are always debatable, and open for discussion. As social creatures, we use language to form our own identities in relation to those around us. This is an ever-unfolding process which happens both consciously and unconsciously, individually and collectively.
Who is G. Appleseed?
The legend of Johnny Appleseed famously tells of a man who wore a cooking pot on his head, traveled on foot, and scattered apple seeds throughout the Midwestern United States.
In actuality, John Chapman (b. 1774), established a loose network of nurseries to cultivate apple trees he carefully planted from seed. Chapman’s nurseries were tended by local people and periodically revisited by John every few years as he continued to travel.(He did, actually, wear a pot on his head).
G. Appleseed is Johnny’s modern-day descendant.
G lives in the realm between mass media and daily conversation, in the red zone of America where people are not hungry for apples but for critical questions about language and identity. G would like to cultivate seeds and visit nurseries where people hesitate, question, struggle, or celebrate what our words tell us about ourselves. (G does not wear a pot on their head.)
G is interested in continuation, future collaborations, feedback, and ongoing discussion. What do you, your organization, or members of your community think about this project? Your feedback could be G’s next project. Feel free to send photos of the project in action, or contact G here: firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll see what happens next!
Feel free to check out this map to see all the locations that received a box:
Thesis Show Indiana University Art Museum 2014
Lateral Thinking GIFs of Stretched text prints 4 x 6 in 2014
Fallacy of Thinking GIFs from Lenticular prints 2 x 7 in 2014
Pygmalion Possibility – Para-Sites Projections 2014
(photo credit to Rachel Baxter)
The Pygmalion effect, the phenomenon whereby the greater expectation placed upon people, the better they perform, is the underlying theory behind this work.
More often than not when I hear or read about fraternities, they are stories that glorify only the bad; rape, chaos, abuse, harassment, etc… This creates the opposite of the Pygmalion effect, called the Golem effect in which low expectations lead to a decrease in performance and perpetuates the same expected actions over and over again.
I want to propose a change in thought. By projecting positive phrases and expectations onto the faces of these fraternity buildings, I want to encourage not only the people on the street who see the work to think differently of these buildings and the people within, but also encourage the young men inside to think better of themselves, thereby creating different results.
Lambda Chi Alpha + Beta Theta Pi
Lateral Thinking Silkscreen Print 14 x 18 2013
Anamorphic Type – Stretched Projection All is Well ~50 x 20 ft 2013
*Special Thanks to Nicole and Tessa*