[ISEA2012] Introduction: Greg Esser – Note from the Desert Initiative Director

Introductory Statement

It is an exciting opportunity for Desert Initiative: Desert One (DI:D1) to partner with ISEA2012 Albuquerque: Machine Wilderness. Deserts are places of sublime beauty, savage conditions and spiritual power, of paradox and contradiction. At once seemingly barren and hostile, deserts are abundantly rich with specifically-adapted life forms, minerals and other resources. Deserts are home to many of the oldest cultures and civilizations in the world. Deserts are the laboratory of adaptation and resiliency for humans and non-humans. The activity and impact of human beings are inherently part of the continuum of natural, biological and geological forces. Human actions often change only at the point of catastrophic crisis: extinction, extreme climate change, depletion of finite resources. ISEA2012 showcases the incredible creative energy and intersections between art, culture, science, technology and nature occurring here, and highlights the pivotal role desert communities are playing in technological and cultural innovation, sustainability and stewardship. DI:D1 extends this investigation of the desert as a site of critical and creative inquiry by extending into and connecting the four desert regions of North America: Great Basin, Mojave, Sonora and Chihuahua. These deserts are the inspiration, subject and sites of exhibitions, lectures, commissioned projects, residencies and events that begin this month and continue through April, 2013. Art, in collaboration across all fields of knowledge and cultures, plays a central role in imagining, defining and creating the future of desert communities. Please visit us on-line and sign up for our newsletter to learn more about Desert Initiative: Desert One. Request a free road map and passport to guide you among the regional DI:D1 partners including ISEA2012. We invite you to join us on this journey. Educate. Collaborate. Explore.  desertinitiative.org

Desert Initiative partners:

    Arizona Commission on the Arts
    Arizona Museum of Natural History
    ASU Herberger Institute for Design & the Arts
    ASU Museum of Anthropology
    ASU Art Museum
    ASU School of Art
    Center for Creative Photography
    Heard Museum
    Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson
    Phoenix Art Museum
    Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture
    Shemer Art Center and Museum
    Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
    Scottsdale Office of Environmental Initiatives
    Scottsdale Public Art Program
    Salt River Project
    Tucson Museum of Art
    Tucson Pima Arts Council
    University of Arizona Institute of the Environment
    University of Arizona Museum of Art
    & Archive of Visual Arts
    Arid Lands Institute
    Center for Land Use Interpretation
    High Desert Test Sites
    Palm Springs Art Museum
    UCR Sweeney Art Gallery
    Center for Art + Environment,
    Nevada Museum of Art
    516 ARTS
    The Albuquerque Museum of Art & History
    Albuquerque Public Art Urban Enhancement Program
    Art and Ecology, The University of New Mexico
    El Paso Museum of Art
    El Paso Museums & Cultural Affairs Department
    Getting Off the Planet
    Santa Fe Art Institute
    ISEA2012 Albuquerque: Machine Wilderness
    Stanlee & Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts
    at The University of Texas at El Paso
    Navajo Nation Museum 
  • Greg Esser is Desert Initiative Director ASU Art Museum, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts