ProduceStories is an augmented reality app that aims to humanize farmworkers with spoken word performances and poetry. I made this piece to push back on the notion of commodified labor in the agriculture industry and to humanize those that sustain it. I wanted to focus on the creativity and humanness in the individuals implicated in the production of food, to remind consumers that PEOPLE with STORIES are implicated in the production of food. From a consumer’s perspective, it’s not hard to lose sight of where a product comes from. In the case fresh produce, it’s a challenge to connect a fruit or vegetable conveniently displayed in your supermarket to a human life. Thus, the app I’ve created is a scavenger-hunt of sorts that is in direct conversation with these ideas. Hidden among (or within) different fruits and vegetables are the stories and creative writings of farmworkers. This app does more than just remind consumers that the pear or orange they eat comes from someone’s backbreaking work. It challenges the traditional narrative of objectified and commodified farmworkers. I was interested in storytelling and sourced my interviews from StoryCorps. The first interview in the video is Vito de la Cruz and Maria Sefchick-Del Paso and the second is Alicia Beltrán-Castañeda and Serena Castañeda. You can find the complete stories here (storycorps.org/listen) or you can interact with my app.
My plan from here is to continue to increase my library of image targets and stories. Eventually, I would like to get to a point where I can have poems or spoken word excepts for nearly every type of fruit in a supermarket. Finally, my biggest concern is that I am using produce to represent the lives of farmworkers. In an effort to not work counterintuitively, I ask you, my audience, if this project succeeds in accomplishing its goal, or if it on perpetuates the notions it is trying to push back against.
Special thanks to Tyvan and Claire for helping me on this project!
Here are some photos: