Phoenix Transect Project
Fieldwork for Phoenix Transect has flexible content and takes advantage of the skills and interests of the individuals involved. The project provides an out of the classroom experience for photographers and researchers who specialize in site related work, and offers a unique opportunity for students and faculty to work in collaboration. Each time fieldwork is conducted, new participants are added and a new field problem is chosen. When seen together, the combined fieldwork of many years can be seen as a larger survey creating a detailed portrait of a place evolving in time.

Copyright Notice: All content presented on this site is the property of The Phoenix Transect Project, the contributing artist or the institution.

Projects:

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A Series of Cosmological Coincidences At a Home in Mesa

In my life there are two positions I occupy that can seem, at the same time commonplace and extraordinary: my place in a family as a father and husband, and my place in the universe. This dichotomy—the way that a moonrise or the birth of a child can be so very common and yet, feel so heartbreakingly unique—is a particular condition of our post-enlightenment knowledge of the world. We are aware of ... [more]

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After the Crossing

You just can't carry enough water for a Summer crossing of Arizona's Sonoran Desert. Based on his first-hand experience, journalist John Annerino estimated that a person needs anywhere from 2-5 gallons of water per day to replenish that lost to the relentless sun. For thousands of undocumented migrants the journey across the U.S.-Mexico border happens here, during the punishing Summer months. Tw ... [more]

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After the Water

At the confluence of the Rillito, Pantano and Tanque Verde Creeks water once flowed perennially. The river channels were lined by a continuous oasis of trees containing great strands of mesquite, sometimes reaching 60 feet in height and trunks a foot and a half in diameter, intermingled with cottonwoods, elderberry, hackberry, walnut and ash. The dense vegetation of riparian wetlands were homes ... [more]

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Ajo Landscapes

The landscape in and around Ajo, Arizona provides a valuable lens with which to examine the way people and place interact. Ajo's geography dictates its industries. With the closure of the mine, Ajo's main sources of income have become border patrol and retirees. Ubiquitous green and white SUVs patrol for desperate migrants in the same desert which provide winter homes to the RVs of those who migra ... [more]

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Artifacts - Coronado Historic Neighborhood

These artifacts were found in the Coronado Historic Neighborhood, a central Phoenix community located between 7th Street, Thomas Road, and both the State Route-51 and Interstate-10 freeways. Although considered a relatively young city, Phoenix has a legendary pre-historic legacy. Believed to have originated around the beginning of the Common Era and lasted into the 15th century, the Hohokam were a ... [more]

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Artifacts - Salt River

These various objects were found in the bed of the Salt River located in Mesa, AZ just east of interstate 101 and north of interstate 202. Mainly populated by wildlife and transients, this area has become both a refuge and a dumping ground. Abandoned tents, homemade fire pits, and piles of debris are found amongst Cottonwood trees and wetland grasses. While photographing around the Salt River w ... [more]

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Backyard

Many of us have a particular space in which we touch nature. We are not always conscious of how to use the space in any other way than how it was appropriated when we began using the space. Often times the backyard, which is commonly this space for most, gets nothing more than a grass cutting and possibly some weeding but most often it’s the only consideration we give it. How to use this space ... [more]

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Between Land and Sky : Miami - Globe

In December of my first semester as a photography MFA student at ASU, I drove into Globe, after dark, with a failed alternator. I was met, repeatedly, with unusual generosity. This led me to begin a series of portraits and landscapes in Miami-Globe, northeast of Phoenix.

Miami and Globe were built on mineral wealth; silver, copper and gold. Mining and ranching have persisted since t ... [more]

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Buckeye

An in-depth document of a small, rural town 30 miles west of Phoenix as it undergoes the change from a small farming town to a Phoenix suburb.

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Canal Mapping: Finding Public Space

The canal network that flows through Phoenix, the basis for the metropolis itself, offers the city a chance to sustain green neighborhoods in the interior of the city, agriculture at its periphery and perhaps a place for public life and space in the future. Looking back, the canal banks, lined by Cottonwood trees, were places where Phoenix residents sought out recreation and interaction.
T ... [more]

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Carrots and Community

There are many community gardens in the Phoenix area. They are all used to grow food but they each one is unique. Some provide recreational space for a specific population, while some are used to grow as much food as possible to help those who do not have to eat. The physical garden spaces vary in accordance to the goals of the garden. This can be seen in the photos of the community garden spaces. ... [more]

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Closed Loop recycling-The Impossible Story of Electronic Waste in Phoenix, AZ

Close Loop is at the outskirts of an a dusty industrial campus called Westgate, about 10 minutes west of downtown Phoenix, right off the I 10 as you drive towards LA. Closed Loop Recycling is a site like many others: a big cavernous nondescript hangar surrounded by chain link fence enclosing a large yard. It is flanked on one side by a busy road where trucks speed menacingly, by another industrial ... [more]

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Field Guide to The Valley (Phoenix Flora)

Field Guide to the Valley explores the contradictions that come with living in a large modern metropolitan area by documenting the species of plant life that are found in particular locales around the Valley. We are in the west, in the middle of Arizona and in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, yet so much of the evidence around the place I live and work runs counter to what I have come to expect fr ... [more]

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Flight Paths

Centrally located in the heart of the city, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is the ninth busiest airport in the United States. With a $90 million dollar daily economic impact, some 1,200 aircraft fly through the airspace above the Phoenix suburbs on any given day.

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Found Connections

Craigslist is an interesting microcosm of humanity. On the same site that you can buy a lawnmower one can profess the loss of an opportunity, a Missed Connection. These fleeting posts only last for forty-five days before being purged from the system. Even more quickly than that they get buried as more posts are added everyday. There exists a special subset of these missed connections, intersperse ... [more]

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Gray Area

I first met Sally at a yogurt shop. Inside, she divulged to me some of the most personal and painful periods of her life.

I listened to her recall memories of poverty, a drug infested culture, years of neglect and maltreatment, multiple “father figures,” and repeated physical assaults against her. She told me about the times her mother left home, the drug deals she witnessed, and th ... [more]

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Greater Phoenix: Public Space for Innovation

As a post-war city characterized by suburban development, Phoenix largely lacks the categories of public space which exist in older American cities. The design of streets, plazas, and squares is informed by reliance of Phoenix residents on vehicles and air-conditioning, two factors which reduce opportunities for social interaction within the public land and spaces of the city. The built environmen ... [more]

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Heat(e)scape

The Heat(e)scape project emerged when Sean Deckert, an artist interested in the urban heat island effect, met with Karina Benessaiah, a geographer interested in how people perceive and adapt to changing social and ecological systems. Through the combination of infrared & normal video camera systems with interviews and music, this project seeks to articulate a more nuanced understanding of heat in ... [more]

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Historias en la Camioneta

I grew up on the U.S. Mexico border, and my family and I have used a shuttle service since I was as child to migrate through the landscape to and from larger metropolitan cities such as Los Angeles and Phoenix. When I think about my earliest memories on the shuttle bus, I see my mother immersed in conversations with passengers for hours at a time. As an adult, I find myself in her seat, conversin ... [more]

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Home Tour-2010

Home, it would seem, should increasingly embody the sociality, multiplicity, and fluidity of the contemporary moment. Mobility reigns. Personal information is shared at an excessive, if not alarming rate. We turn to the Real Housewives of somewhere to see how other people live. The classic divide, homemaking and paid work, has dissolved into the rhythmic continuum of multi-tasking. Yet, when it co ... [more]

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Home Tour-2011

“When we talk about an object of desire, we are really talking about a cluster of promises we want someone or something to make to us and make possible for us. …the surrender to the return to the scene where the object hovers in its potentialities is the operation of optimism as an affective form.” –Lauren Berlant, Cruel Optimism.

One day a year ... [more]

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Im|Migrant Perspectives

Immigration has been a highly contested topic throughout U.S. history. While the U.S. has been framed as a country of immigrants, the experiences of different groups and individuals is often not accounted for in the dominant public discourse surrounding immigration. This project focuses on different (im)migrant groups and individuals in the Phoenix metropolitan area to get their (im)migrant story ... [more]

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Industry, the Border, and the Transformation of Ajo, Arizona

Ajo was synonymous with copper mining until the Phelps Dodge Company pulled out in the 1980s. Reeling after the shutdown of the mine, Ajo recast its identity as a destination for part-time winter residents and tourists. The hardening of the U.S.-Mexico border during the 1990s, however, funneled undocumented border crossers from Mexico into the desert surrounding Ajo. The town found itself in the ... [more]

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John F. Long-Sub/Urban Dreams

Acclaimed as Arizona’s largest homebuilder, John F. Long is best known for bringing modern, affordable single-family suburban homes to valley residents. Maryvale, his iconic post World War II development was the first—and not the last—completely master-planned community in Arizona. Virtually built by hyperbole, Maryvale offered the best, largest, and most modern amenities for the suburban family. ... [more]

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Last View

The border between the United States and Mexico is a point of contention across media outlets, politicians, and American citizens. In general, border issues are spoken of as being black and white. From this perspective, there is only right and wrong no matter the circumstances and no one should cross the border into the U.S. for any reason whatsoever. Of course, for many, these issues are being di ... [more]

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Media Mountain Lion

Today, when we want to learn about essentially anything we turn to our screens. While we have access to limitless information, the filtering process and the quality of the information is largely determined by popularity. Usually at the top of our search results are videos, the more the video is watched the more it comes up in search results.

What sort of video information could be c ... [more]

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Memory of Water

The Salt River Project follows the Salt River from the recreation areas East of Phoenix out to the Gillespie Dam West of Phoenix. It is the story of an urban desert river.

The project begins with the conceptual framework provided by high water marks. Clumps of dirt, plastic bags and plant growth five feet up in trees serve as a reminder that the dry riverbed is not dead, but only do ... [more]

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Noumena

The thing in-itself is transcended by perception whether the "thing" is photography, space, or realties. I am interested in photographing spaces into becoming something more than description. I use the Phoenix area as a place to explore the ideas of transcendence in order to create an environment outside of literal space.

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Oak Flat

A landscape has as many layers of potential use as it does layers of geological strata, and often the only time we as a society question the value of a landscape is when it is under the threat of exploitation. When these threats bubble up the many cultures connected to the landscape are pushed to conceptualize the importance of preservation. Oak Flat, Arizona, which is located an hour east of Phoe ... [more]

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On Phoenix From Above

Aerial Photography of the greater Phoenix valley. Support for this project was provided by the Metro Light Rail Project and published in, City By Design: Phoenix: An Architectural Perspective of the Greater Phoenix Valley, 2009.

Phoenix covers more than 517 square miles and ranks as the fifth largest city in the country with a population of over 1.5 million people. It has continued ... [more]

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One Block of Brentwood

On February 28th 2010 in central Phoenix, twelve Brentwood historic district households graciously opened their homes to the public for the annual Coronado historic district home tour. Designated in 2005, Brentwood is a small historic district located within the greater Coronado neighborhood, a broad swath of the central-eastern corridor housing three residential historic districts: Coronado, Coun ... [more]

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Paved Paradise

"Big Yellow Taxi” or “They Paved Paradise and Put in a Parking Lot”

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

They to ... [more]

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Phoenix Palms

I first began making these photographs in response to what I saw each morning out the windows of a moving light-rail train. Between Mesa and Tempe the track runs along a dilapidated Apache Boulevard. Vacant lots and abandoned motels clutter the street, but ultimately it was the palms that caught my eye.

There is no shortage of palm trees in Phoenix. Here, palms are more prolifi ... [more]

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Phoenix Palms (A response)

I, too, noticed the palms on my commute from my home in Mesa to the University. I was struck by the romance of the images that Bryon made and by how very different my experience of the palms was. There are 596 (or so) palms on University Drive between my house and Arizona State. Here they are.

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Please Check Surroundings for Safety

Please Check Surroundings for Safety is a collaboration between my boyfriend and I — and a 2014 Mazda 3. Fascinated by the discovery that our new car had a reverse-facing camera, which enables only when the car is in reverse, we began to text each other images of what the car was “seeing” while we were driving. Familiar locations looked different, distorted by the car’s vantage point. The car’s ta ... [more]

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Plinking

Traveling north on Route 87 the views of Tonto National Forest appear pristine and beautiful. Towering saguaros pepper a land that seems to go on endlessly. It wasn’t until I ventured off of the highway onto one of the many dirt roads intersecting Tonto that the pristine landscape revealed a different truth. Gunshots can be heard coming from all directions and bullet holes can be found piercing ma ... [more]

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Presence and Absence in the Desert Borderlands

The iconic landscapes of the North American Southwest conceal the tension along the U.S.-Mexico border.

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PULS | Phoenix Urban Light Study

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Utilizing a multitude of camera systems including a FLIR infrared, 3D video , DSLR, and lenticular images I have attempted an address of this paradox of Urban Heat Island. Creating shifting, user-activated photographs, infrared video tours of the city, and stop motion light studies, this work redefines the spaces of the downtown Phoenix Metro area through scientific tools ... [more]

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Re-Cover

Life will take on new meaning. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends. This is an experience you must not miss. We know you will not want to miss it.
(Bill W. 1939)

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Re-Cover: One Day at a Time

We are average Americans. All sections of this country and many of its occupations are represented, as well as many political, economic, social, and religious backgrounds. We are people who normally would not mix. But there exists among us a fellowship, a friendliness, and an understanding which is indescribably wonderful. We are like the passengers of a great liner the moment after rescue from sh ... [more]

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Rephotographs

The sites of historic photographs of the Phoenix Metropolitan area have been relocated and the views repeated (rephotographed), sometimes on several occasions. New sites have also been created for the purpose of rephotography at a later date.

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Rephotographs - Light Rail

Months before the Valley Metro Light Rail opened for travel in December 2008, Ryan Heckel methodically photographed every undeveloped lot along its path with an interest in understanding the change and impact of its construction. Now, with over a million passengers per month in 2010, and planned expansion over the next two decades, we can expect to watch a continuously changing face of the Valley. ... [more]

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Rephotographs - Urban Neighborhood

In tracing a visual urban history of dynamic central city neighborhoods a common misconception is made: “then and now”, “now and then”. Discontinuity and loss seem the primary effect as space and time are ripped asunder by this binary, linear view.

Upon a second, and maybe third viewing, the tension between “past” and “present” reveal the continuous effects of changing forces in ... [more]

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Rush

The Pink Panther, The Plex, Hotel California, Gains Palace, The Fortress, Frat Castle, The Frateau, The Gent, The Empire, The Igloo. These are the names given to the houses that now hold the proud members of Arizona State University’s Fraternities. They reside in places like master-leased apartment complexes, a former motel, and multiple houses that border the Tempe campus, housing anywhere from f ... [more]

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Searching for The Village

You may find a few local newspaper articles about Allenville if you search the archives, you’ll find very little anywhere else. The papers will tell you about the flood of ’79 and the evacuation of Allenville. You can read about the displacement of residents and the efforts to relocate them, which results in the founding of Hopeville in ’81. However, those are the details of a series of events tha ... [more]

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Superior, Behind Main Street

Superior is a town in transition; a yet to be completed work, a town struggling to grow into itself. Nestled at the base of the picturesque Apache Leap and surrounded by the eastern foothills of the Superstitions, Superior seems ideally suited to live up to to its inherent promise – a former mining town all grown up, stripped of its dark past – and now a great place to live, work and vacation.
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The Buffer Zone

What happens in the landscape beyond the edge of human structure, where the wild and the controlled collide? In this place, we are removed from the order of the urban, but we are not yet surrounded by the wilderness. This place in-between is The Buffer Zone.

The Buffer Zone is just beyond the ever-expanding sprawl of the Salt River Valley. Dominance, frustration, sexuality, and aggr ... [more]

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The Last Resort

The Last Resort

When I moved to Arizona to attend the MFA program I was aware that I could be considered a “non-traditional “ student or just an old student. Yet I did not feel old, that is until we moved into a retirement trailer park. My husband found our trailer, which appeared to have everything we could want, swimming, golfing and air conditioning. I have come to realize tha ... [more]

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The Living Line

This project -The Living Line explores the interrelationship between natural and human processes of Tempe Town Lake, which is an urban landscape formed by the intersection of natural and human orders.This project is the understanding and noticing how human’s behavior and city’s development affecting the lake and the lives around it through a landscape architecture student`s perspective. For this p ... [more]

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The Manicured City

If you are looking for it you will have no problem finding it. It’s all around the greater Phoenix Valley, as odd as it may seem. Homeowners use it to seek out beautification or perhaps attention, business owners looking for a way to deter from the straight and boring lines of their establishment. Vegetation is more abundant than you would consider in Metropolitan Phoenix.

However, ... [more]

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Thermal City

…it is certain that a beam of heat is the essence of the matter. Heat, and invisible, instead of visible, light. Whatever is combustible flashes into flame at its touch, lead runs like water, it softens iron, cracks and melts glass, and when it falls upon water…explodes into steam.

—H.G. Wells, War of the Worlds, 1898, 13

Volatile and agitated, infrared images expre ... [more]

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Transient Like Me

Tuesday night, and every motel in this isolated desert place was fully booked. I drove down the strip, to La Siesta, the Copper Sands, and the ambitiously named Marine, 200 miles from the nearest sight of water, in Rocky Point, Mexico. All were flashing No Vacancy. At the Copper Sands, Ken felt sorry for me. He asked his wife Angie to find the nearest opening. She was less interested and turned th ... [more]

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Unwelcome

Unwelcome is a short documentary film that focuses on the discrimination faced by individuals experiencing homelessness in Phoenix, Arizona.

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Urban Agriculture and Cultural Politics at the Phoenix Indian School Site

Agriculture at the Phoenix Indian School site has had a long history, from the ancient Hohokam canal running through the site, to farming programs at the Phoenix Indian School, and to the most recent incarnation at the PHX Renews site. Examining the history and land use of this one site over time reveals interesting tensions in land appropriation, our relations to food in the city, and cultural po ... [more]

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Young Mothers

I remember the summers of early childhood with my mother. The sounds of the Cure and Prince still bring back memories of seeing her get ready for an evening out. I watched her put on makeup, color her hair, and paint her nails with the eyes of a loving and curious daughter who came too soon. As weeks together passed, I feared the season’s end, knowing that once again I’d be left watching from the ... [more]

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