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The Edge of Light: Wendover
5 Aug 2012
Published To

From "The Border of Nowhere and Nowhere":

Josh Wallaert, the assistant editor of Places, "an interdisciplinary journal of contemporary architecture, landscape and urbanism," pointed The Art of the Rural toward their essay and slideshow The Edge of Light: Wendover, a photographic collaboration between Brian Rosa and Adam Ryder. As artists-in-residence at The Center for Land Use Interpretation, the photographers spent some time considering the landscapes of Wendover, Utah and West Wendover, Nevada. "This isolated but historically important pocket of the West," they tell us, "straddles the border of nowhere and nowhere"; during World War II, it was the home of the most extensive bombing range in the United States and the site from which the Enola Gay departed for Hiroshima. When the war concluded, the military pulled its personnel and its economic resources out of the town, leaving it, in many senses of the word, abandoned. The community has, more recently, been transformed by the casinos built on the Nevada side of the border. It stands an amalgam that confuses our easy definitions of rural and urban space.

Mr. Rosa and Mr. Ryder's photographs also benefit from the unique landscape of the region, which surrounds the human environment and casts it in a defamiliarizing context:

"The unique topography of the region, which lies at the foot of the Toana mountain range and the Leppy Hills, offers the opportunity for unexpectedly dynamic vistas. Trudging up to the promontories that loom over town, we had oblique views of the city, of the perfectly straight and flat stretch of Interstate 80 through the salt flats and of the monolithic communication arrays. From this vantage on a clear day, we found ourselves at one of the few points where the earth’s curvature can be seen on the horizon with the naked eye. At night, while the Utah side was nearly lightless, the casinos and hotels and parking lots on the Nevada side glowed bright as day, projecting a harsh screen of light on newly built tract housing, piles of concrete rubble from building demolitions and the mountains beyond.

These photographers sought to document "the interstitial, unoccupied spaces at the edges of the interstate, among the ruins of the military base, and between the nightlife zones and the casino workers’ tract housing." The results, which can be viewed in the slideshow on the Places site, is alternately harrowing and beautiful.
Art Culture Environment History Innovation Rural/Regional Social Enterprise Design/Architecture Nevada Photography Utah West
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