Desert America: Territory of ParadoxIrene Hwang | Jaime Salazar | Michael Kubo | Ramon Prat
“Desert America: Territory of Paradox” is a survey of the extreme uses and activities that take place in the area roughly encompassing Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and sections of California and Texas.
Through photography and text, personal experience and history, we explore an alternate America desert –one of promise and failure inflated to magnificent proportions. In a region considered barren and empty, we investigate the phenomena that reveal the desert as a place that is in fact teeming with activity.
Seven “books” work in tandem to demonstrate how the Desert is an epic territory of extreme conditions that generate severe and often monumental reactions, constructions and outcomes. These books trace a parabola that begins with the idea of the Desert as the vacant, desired territory of history, the destination of past and present stories of American exodus. The chapters next rise through an arc of increasing colonization, examining the infrastructure projects that made the Desert inhabitable, as well as the technologies and ambitions that encouraged occupation, growth, and fortification. Our journey through this fascinating landscape is completed as we return to the image of the Desert as a territory of the empty and sublime –an image now conditioned by all that we have just witnessed.