This project about the Mojave Desert region in Southern California is a continuation of my interest in arid landscapes. I began this topical line of research in 2012 when I undertook a digital reconstruction and analysis of historical photography at the Grand Canyon. I now move westward to the Mojave, as I remain fascinated with the integration of human and non-human entities in a landscape that is at once deeply private, hidden, and complex, yet at the same time is clear, simple, and open. Methodologically I retain a visual approach, though instead of using the imagery of others, this time I use a camera to explore "non-Euclidean spaces."
This, then, is the theoretical engine that propels this work forward. Through the creative process of making, I am interested in poking at a paradox that has emerged in cultural geography. On the one hand, there is the decades-long growth of digital cartography--including things like GIS and interactive web mapping. These practices have allowed the spatialization of many phenomena, opening up new ways of seeing and knowing across many disciplines, as well as sparking a revolution in cartographic design itself. On the other hand, for about the same amount of time, spatial and social theorists--led most notably by Henri Lefebvre--have argued for a multiplicity of spaces that become produced through various relationships among people, flows of capital, built environments, agricultural activities, and myriad other socio-natural phenomena.
The paradox is that as the idea of multiple spatial ontologies has spread like wildfire through the humanities, the visual language used to explore these spaces has been almost exclusively Euclidean, i.e. the very absolute space that is being undone with words. What is the visual geographic articulation of spaces that do not start with a data-to-grid-system workflow?
Bauch, Nicholas. 2017. Not By Light Alone: Graphic solutions for geographies of memory and meaning. Norman, Okla.: Experimental Geography Studio Press.