Professor Kim Stringfellow of the School of Art and Design at San Diego State University has been awarded the 2015 John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for her latest research project called The Mojave Project.
“For me, the Guggenheim Fellowship is one of the most honorable recognitions possible for an artist and photographer,” Stringfellow said. “Some really important projects have been done on Guggenheim fellowships so it means a lot to join this group of fellows.”
Of the 3,100 applicants this year, the fellowship awarded 175 recipients an average of $43,000 each to assist them with their work.
“The Mojave Project is a very laborious and time-consuming project, so this fellowship will really help me a lot with continuing my work,” Stringfellow said.
About The Mojave Project
The Mojave Project — which began in August 2014 — is an experimental, trans-media documentary that explores the physical, geological and cultural landscape of the Mojave Desert.
Stringfellow gathers information from many individuals involved in desert culture, from geologists to military personnel and land-speed racers to desert dwellers.
“I’m looking at very unique subcultures and trying to break down stereotypes of what people see in the type of people that live in the desert,” Stringfellow said. “I think there are very specialized cultures in the desert that you won’t find on the coast.”
Stringfellow will also look at the pure wilderness in the Mojave Desert and how humans are beginning to threaten this land with solar and wind developments. While she does support these green energies, she stresses that open areas are very important for all of us.
“I think for our own well-being and health we need access to open spaces,” she said. “The desert is that particular kind of place that allows us to be very reflective and think about the layers of time that you can see in the geological landscape.”
In addition to journals and articles, Stringfellow will be integrating photos, audio and video components into this project. However, she will focus on keeping the photography realistic, so that she provides an accurate documentation of the Mojave Desert.
This project is expected to be finished in 2017, but Stringfellow has already begun releasing Field Dispatches on a bi-monthly basis on her website and through her publishing partner, KCET Artbound.
“I typically take a couple of years at least to really work on a project and then I release a website, book or exhibition at the end of that period,” Stringfellow said. “Instead what I am doing is releasing research publicly through a blog.”
About the Guggenheim Fellowship
In its ninety-first competition for the U.S. and Canada, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awarded fellowships to a diverse group of scholars, artists and scientists. The appointments are made on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise. In all, fifty-one disciplines, sixty-three different academic institutions, twenty-three states and the District of Columbia and two Canadian provinces are represented by this year’s Fellows.
Since its establishment in 1925, the Foundation has granted more than $325 million in Fellowships to nearly 18,000 individuals, among whom are scores of Nobel laureates and poet laureates, as well as winners of the Pulitzer Prize, Fields Medal, and other important, internationally-recognized honors.