Bay Lexicon, a visual dictionary made up of illustrated flash cards, defines a working vocabulary for observing, exploring, and coming to terms with the complicated environment of San Francisco Bay. Its premise is that language is the first tool for perception: we cannot recognize what we cannot name. The project includes forty-eight flash cards that describe San Francisco’s boundary with the bay and ask questions about the scenes they depict. Twenty-four of the cards deal with the landscape that is visible from the Bay Observatory’s windows and the other twenty four describe places and phenomena along the shoreline between Fort Point and Hunters Point.
Every card is an invitation to look closely at the landscape and to wonder about its meanings. The cards’ display cart serves as an orientation device. It includes a map of San Francisco’s dynamic shoreline and drawings of the views from the gallery so that viewers can identify the flash cards’ locations in the landscape. Designed to move around the gallery and into the city, the project will serve as a field guide for tours of the Bay Observatory and the shoreline beyond.