Material Histories: Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area, 16th Street [1/4 square mile] Phoenix, Arizona + Brush Creek Road [2 miles] Snowmass Village, Colorado

This project takes as assumption that every space and every thing is connected on all sides to the whole rest of the world.

These pictures record events of exploring public space on foot. Each walk becomes a collection of objects gathered from a particular explored place. As a walker-gatherer, I am childlike, measuring value in curiosity and storing it in a shoebox under the bed. I am like a bowerbird, seduced by a brightly colored speck and the glint in the corner of an eye. I am also street sweeper, curator, naturalist, and anthropologist of my own culture and time on these walks.

Each image is a subjective and arbitrary sample of an accumulated surface up to the collecting event. Multiple histories are invoked— the gathering walk, the implied stories of how each thing came to be there, and the history of the representation and study of land. I arrange the objects as if a strong wind blew through a natural history museum display case. Things float in the void like the wild energies they rode in on—having fallen out of private ownership, public systems of recovery, or nutrient cycles, landing first on public land and then into my hands. Artifacts and engineered materials intertwine and mingle with natural resources. Stripped of their context for careful observation, the objects refer back to the places and inhabitants from which they came, becoming social and environmental mirrors.

Top photograph:

Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area, 16th Street [1/4 square mile]

Phoenix, Arizona

44" x 156"

Archival inkjet print on bamboo paper


Bottom photograph:

Brush Creek Road [2 miles]

Snowmass Village, CO

24" x 35"

Archival inkjet print on bamboo paper


Contributor's Biography:

Julie Anand is Assistant Professor and Area Coordinator for Photography at Arizona State University. These works from her ongoing Material Histories investigations were part of the Defining Sustainability suite of exhibitions at the ASU Art Museum Fall 2009. She received her Master's of Fine Arts degree from the University of New Mexico. An interdisciplinary thinker and desert lover, she studied Ecology and Evolutionary Biology as an undergraduate before becoming smitten with photography. Having replaced the burden of proof with the celebration of subjectivity, her mixed-media and photographic artworks draw on the ecological principle of interdependency. Her work questions conventional boundaries including those between science and art, between artistic disciplines, and between the body and its environment. Her work often uses history-rich materials like wood, soil, and water to speak to the unity of things through the cycles of matter.