In this follow-up to Podcast #81, we reconnect with Marcus Lyon, artist, photographer, and founder of A Human Atlas, after completing his Silicon Valley project entitled De.Coded, which launched in October 2023.
In our conversation with Marcus, we talk about what he learned from his time with Silicon Valley change makers, how this project differed from previous experiences, the philosophy and design elements of the physical book, and what is on the horizon for A Human Atlas.
Some key takeaways from his time spent with the 101 Silicon Valley change-makers featured in De.Coded are the importance of Latino/Chicano culture and history in shaping the region, the rich diversity of cultures that have come together among various waves of immigration and migrations, themes of belonging, and a constant emphasis on refining the process behind A Human Atlas with a focus on context, equity, and authenticity.
Having completed A Human Atlas of Brazil, Germany, Detroit, and now Silicon Valley, Marcus Lyon is still grounded in what inspired his first project. As an Englishman married to a Brazilian with “Brazinglish” children, his initial concept, Somos Brasil (2016), which told the story of 104 extraordinary individuals creating social change across Brazil, was intended to develop a deep cultural immersion for his family. Originally intended as a one-off endeavor, Marcus began receiving requests for similar projects after its publication and recognition.
Currently, Marcus and his crew, including Joe Briggs-Price & Camila Pastorelli, are working on a new A Human Atlas project based in Los Angeles, entitled Alta / a Human Atlas of Los Angeles.
Funding for De.Coded was provided by the David & Lucile Packard Foundation.
Nomination & fiscal support was provided by the American Leadership Forum (ALF).
Human Atlas projects are research-based, interdisciplinary explorations of the people of a specified geography. They are built on extensive nomination processes. A carefully curated group nominates individuals who are championing and driving social impact in all its forms: from public servants to entrepreneurs, from non-profit leaders and activists to artists and scientists. The projects then map these remarkable humans through photographic portraits, app-based oral histories, info-graphic mapping, and ancestral DNA. Human Atlas projects take on many digital forms but always begin as a published limited edition book and an interactive exhibition.
Pictured: (L to R) Marcus Lyon and Camila Pastorelli
Book images provided by Human Atlas.