J.W. Powell & Associates

Printed sign, active phone number with voicemail service

Various locations

2013 - 2013

J.W. Powell & Associates is outdoor intervention project currently on public and private land.  The project is framed within the real estate vernacular that includes a company sign with an overview of purpose, and a phone number that connects to an active voicemail service.  The signs reads J.W. Powell & Associates, Reality Group, Land and Resource Speculation, (480) 382-5080.  If an interested party calls the phone number on the sign, they can listen to a message in the form of a quote by Edward Abbey addressing environmental concerns related to water and urban development in the American West.  At the end of the message/quote, the caller may leave a message of their own, which will be archived in the form of an audio file and a transcribed email.  

J.W. Powell & Associates was inspired by the month long exercise of logging various data collected about my own consumption.  J.W. Powell is a reference to Major John Wesley Powell, the one armed civil war vet who successfully led the first group of eight men down an uncharted Colorado River through the Grand Canyon in 1869.  Major Powell had a well informed understanding of the arid American west, having travelled through it extensively during his life.  Despite his respected considerations of the region about limited natural resources like the Colorado River, his influence with the federal government was small in terms of urban growth and development policies that shaped the west, as we know it.  The Associates refers to any number of environmental advocates who’ve come into public consciousness since the era of John Wesley Powell.  Edward Abbey, an American writer who gained prominence throughout the 1960’s and 70’s, most known for his advocacy for environmental issues, came to mind early on as I was developing the project.  He became the first person to be quoted.  Future quotes from Associates will most likely change as the project moves forward, just as our continued need for new land and resources perpetuate the sprawling horizons of cities and towns in the west.