On July 18th 2002, a crew of 8 digital artists made their way from the UK and Holland to Arizona, USA to create a series of digital stories working with a selection of native american and rurally isolated young people.
Phoenix Airport 1pm Thursday July 18th: Jon, Murray and Annabel arrive and are met by Shonie and Marci. Shonie is an old friend of Jon’s, Marci is his girlfriend. Shonie is of half Navajo and half German Jewish blood and lives on the Navajo reservation where he moved from city life in Phoenix around 15 years ago.
Six of our crew flew in from the UK and two flew in from Holland. Four went via Frankfurt; one went via Pittsburgh; one via Newark and one via Detroit. One had arrived direct from Holland three days earlier. Eventually they all came together outside a Casino, off highway 89 direction North from Phoenix. Two hours later they arrived in Tuba City, Arizona.
Together they picked up the first essential item for the trip ‘ the van for the crew ‘ and made their way to an all American style warehouse for supplies. It was enormous. Motorbikes, drinks, food, clothes, technical equipment, huge plasma screen TVs. They picked up food supplies and Felix fell in love. It was immediate. He stumbled across an isle of wall to wall Beef Jerky. He looked, he bought some, he tasted. It was Love at first taste.
Back at the airport, Gill, Ray and Nirit arrived one after the other. By 10 pm Nirit was through customs, but her bag was not. No fresh clothes, no computer. By 11pm they were in the van driving North. They were hot, they were sticky, they were tired. Felix was still happy. Nirit was not.
About an hour and a half later the van pulled off the highway to pick Lucy up outside a Casino. She’d arrived three days earlier and been staying with George, Annie and Zamora in Cottonwood. George is a Yaki Indian from Mexico, Annie is from Canada and Zamora is their four year old daughter – a wise soul in a young body. Finally all together, the team left the casino behind, no richer, but getting more tired by the hour.
After a couple of hours of driving there was a pit stop at Wallmart. A classic American one stop shop for whatever you could possibly need. Nirit needed clothes! Not an easy task, Nirit is a small woman. American sizes are far too big. Finding clothes she liked in the children’s department was not easy. Almost an hour later we stumbled out and back into the van.
Finally we arrived in Tuba City on the Navajo Reservation, Arizona. We piled out of the van and into Shonie’s house, where he is kindly letting us stay. A tired, thirsty crew were happy to arrive. Felix decided to get a haircut immediately. Obviously still high on his new love Murray gains a new nickname from Marci – Murray, aka Moby.