Stopping For Pozos: A Collaboration Between Ben Wilder and Ben Johnson

Gavenus, Erika, Johnson, Ben, Wilder, Ben | Image by Ben Johnson

Driving along the highway through northwestern Mexico’s Gran Desierto you might not notice the pozos dotted amongst the seemingly endless sand dunes. Most drivers don’t. Yet these pozos provide fresh water critical to a diversity of life. Historically, pozos were central to the physical and cultural nourishment of the people of the area as well. Now, most people just drive by unaware of these incredible sources of water and life.

Ben Wilder, the acting Director of The Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill and a Research Scientist in desert ecology and botany from the University of Arizona, and Ben Johnson, a visual artist and curator from Tucson, Arizona, do not drive by. Wilder and Johnson are working together through the 6&6 Project and have chosen to focus their work on the pozos.

Read more

 


6&6 A Science-Art Collaboration: Exploring the patterns and processes of the Sonoran Desert and Gulf of California

Gavenus, Erika, Kapoor, Maya L. | April 27, 2017

Punto Cirio | Image by Maria Johnson

What do deserts bring to mind for you? For some they are stark. Unforgiving. Isolating. For others they embody resilience. Strength. Ingenuity.

The Sonoran Desert encapsulates all of this and more. Located in the Southwestern United States and Northwestern Mexico, the desert landscape dramatically abuts the rich marine systems of the Gulf of California and Pacific Ocean. Beauty comes forth in the desert’s forms and the shadows they cast, in its repeating lines, in its subtly changing hues, in the glimpses of life that persist against its harsh backdrop.

Read more

 

 


Punto Cirio

  • punto cirio 40
    Photo: Charles Hedgcock
  • punto cirio 42
    Photo: Charles Hedgcock
  • punto cirio 32
    Photo: Ben Johnson
  • punto cirio 40
    Photo: Charles Hedgcock
  • punto cirio 07
    Photo: Heather Green
  • punto cirio 37
    Photo: Charles Hedgcock
  • punto cirio 04
    Photo: Ben Wilder
  • punto cirio 39
    Photo: Charles Hedgcock
  • punto cirio 03
    Photo: Ben Wilder
  • punto cirio 41
    Photo: Charles Hedgcock
  • punto cirio 22
    Photo: Tom Baumgartner
  • punto cirio 35
    Photo: Ben Johnson
  • punto cirio 21
    Photo: Tom Baumgartner
  • punto cirio 16
    Photo: Maria Johnson
  • punto cirio 36
    Photo: Ben Johnson
  • punto cirio 19
    Photo: Tom Baumgartner
  • punto cirio 33
    Photo: Ben Johnson
  • punto cirio 31
    Photo: Ben Johnson
  • punto cirio 34
    Photo: Ben Johnson
  • punto cirio 01
    Photo: Ben Wilder
  • punto cirio 05
    Photo: Ben Wilder
  • punto cirio 38
    Photo: Charles Hedgcock
  • punto cirio 11
    Photo: Heather Green
  • punto cirio 20
    Photo: Tom Baumgartner
  • punto cirio 09
    Photo: Heather Green
  • punto cirio 17
    Photo: Maria Johnson
  • punto cirio 10
    Photo: Heather Green
  • punto cirio 18
    Photo: Maria Johnson
  • punto cirio 06
    Photo: Ben Wilder
  • punto cirio 13
    Photo: Maria Johnson
  • punto cirio 24
    Photo: Tom Baumgartner
  • punto cirio 15
    Photo: Maria Johnson
  • punto cirio 14
    Photo: Maria Johnson
  • punto cirio 12
    Photo: Maria Johnson
  • punto cirio 08
    Photo: Heather Green
  • punto cirio 02
    Photo: Ben Wilder
  • punto cirio 40
  • punto cirio 42
  • punto cirio 32
  • punto cirio 40
  • punto cirio 07
  • punto cirio 37
  • punto cirio 04
  • punto cirio 39
  • punto cirio 03
  • punto cirio 41
  • punto cirio 22
  • punto cirio 35
  • punto cirio 21
  • punto cirio 16
  • punto cirio 36
  • punto cirio 19
  • punto cirio 33
  • punto cirio 31
  • punto cirio 34
  • punto cirio 01
  • punto cirio 05
  • punto cirio 38
  • punto cirio 11
  • punto cirio 20
  • punto cirio 09
  • punto cirio 17
  • punto cirio 10
  • punto cirio 18
  • punto cirio 06
  • punto cirio 13
  • punto cirio 24
  • punto cirio 15
  • punto cirio 14
  • punto cirio 12
  • punto cirio 08
  • punto cirio 02

To continue to build connections amongst the cohort we headed to where the desert meets the sea on the Sonoran coast of the Gulf of California. Over a long weekend in the middle of May 2015 we paused to continue to lay the foundations for this collaboration. We hiked among giant cardón cacti, in the boojum studded hills, and along a Miocene beach terrace to better learn the approach each of us takes to our craft. We spent multiple hours over several days crystalizing the concept of 6&6: who we are, what we are doing, and why we are doing it. By the time we headed north we had developed our mission statement, set a clear direction of how to proceed, and delved deeper into the collaborative space we are embarking into.

Initial Meeting

 

What started as an idea five months prior became real on a beautiful spring day in April 2015. The inaugural 6&6 cohort gathered together for the first time at the Stone House on the Yetman Trail in the Tucson Mountains. Over a delicious potluck picnic and amidst the calls of the cactus wrens each of us shared our story of how we arrived to the desert and what we aim to accomplish in our work. We took a day to describe our inspiration and how we manifest that in our science or art.

The following themes that cross the science-art boundary emerged:

  • Provide a sense of narrative with work. Tell stories.
  • Encounter. Work that captures a moment. Transports a person to that place of wow.
    • Connection to something larger
    • Stage a moment, the moment
  • Distort Time
    • Capture a moment in time and extend it or slow it down
    • Make that which is hard to see apparent (past, present, or future)
  • Observation as beginning. The more you look, the more you see and more questions emerge
  • Juxtaposition. Contrasts. one illuminates the other
    • Desert–Sea
    • Art–Science
    • Mystery–Answers
    • Playful–Serious
    • Hope–Despair
  • Finding and showing patterns
  • Connect people to place
  • Slow down
    • observe
    • quiet
    • pay attention