Land & Transformation, 2014, 60″ x 60″
Océ VariaDot UV inkjet print on .125″ 6061 Aluminum plate
with random orbit finish and UV protective matte clear coat finish

First of eight artworks that tell the story of Silicon Valley,
installed at the San Jose Marriott, Ballroom Pre-function Area (Mezzanine Level)

Land & Transformation looks back at the lost orchards of Silicon Valley and a time when the land of the Santa Clara Valley was the fruit basket of the world before being transformed into the center of innovative high technology that we know as Silicon Valley today. Within this artwork you will see historical maps and views of Santa Clara Valley, including a depiction of 19th century San Jose, vast arrays of drying apricots and the valley floor with apricot trees in full bloom.

What we know of today as Silicon Valley is situated in Santa Clara Valley, named after the Mission Santa Clara de Asís, a Spanish mission established in 1777 by the Franciscan order in the present-day city of Santa Clara, California. The Franciscans found the valley conditions exceptional for growing fruit. As University of California agricultural expert, journalist and author Edward Wickson wrote in the late 19th century: “The fertility of the soil was supplemented by a peculiarity of climate that enabled trees to grow many more weeks in the year than in other countries, while during the season of rest there was no freezing weather to chill their sap or delay their progress in the spring. The result was that a very few seasons brought orchards to a condition of fruitfulness.”

Beyond the favorable weather conditions, the valley had remarkable alluvial soil, some of the deepest and richest measured anywhere in the world, and plentiful supply of water in artesian wells which helped farmers and their orchards survive the long, dry summers. It is through this unique combination of factors that Santa Clara Valley became the largest apricot producer in the world and, until the 1960s, it was the largest fruit production and packing region in the world with 39 canneries. The valley was for a time known as the Valley of Heart’s Delight for its high concentration of orchards, flowering trees, and plants.

From being carpeted with apricot orchards and other fruits in the 1960s and, in many areas, even up to the 1980s, the valley floor was transformed in the space of a quarter of a century to becoming a world renowned center of pioneering high tech innovative industries and entrepreneurship, where orchards were replaced by the buildings of the Silicon Valley industry and all the associated infrastructure and housing, et cetera, associated with a booming new industry.

Sources: Wikipedia and California Apricots: The Lost Orchards of Silicon Valley by Robin Chapman

The Silicon Valley Series









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