Monday, June 23, 2008 | 12:01 p.m.
One of the more fascinating books on contemporary Las Vegas (as seen through urban studies and architecture) is about to be released by Berlin publishing house, Jovis.
"Urbanizing the Mojave Desert: Las Vegas," (192 pages) details rapid urbanization of the Valley as studied and photographed by Ralph Stern, associate professor of architecture at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, and Nicole Huber, associate professor of architecture at the University of Washington.
The two professors spent years living in reunified Berlin studying its reclamation and erasure of history, then continued their studies in Las Vegas -- a city famous for erasing its history, and as Stern says, "it's memory." Displacement is a common theme in this project. Just as the Strip borrows from everywhere else, so too do suburban communities, erasing all things Mojave Desert.
The project, originally known as "Sites of Transition, Urbanizing the Mojave Desert," has been featured in exhibits in Berlin and more recently at Arizona State University where it was accompanied by a symposium featuring art critic Lucy Lippard.
The book is expected to be released in late July or early August. The exhibit moves to Seattle later this year. UNLV has not exhibited this project.