Enchanting the Desert uses the early-twentieth-century narrated slideshows made by American photographer Henry Peabody. In 1899 and 1902, Peabody made trips to the Grand Canyon to make images that would promote the region for tourism and speculative interest. Employed originally by famous landscape photographer William Henry Jackson, Peabody later started his own company that produced narrated educational slideshows, or as he called them, "talking films."
The project "enchants" the Grand Canyon region with a diversity of geographic information, aurally and visually augmenting Peabody's slideshow, paying homage to his early attempts at virtual touring by utilizing present-day digital technology. The user can experience the Grand Canyon from a variety of perspectives simultaneously, affording him or her the opportunity to read the landscape synthetically through interwoven Native American, environmental, tourist, and art historical commentaries.
Speaking to the history of geographic thought, the project re-traces Peabody's steps cartographically, visually, and sonically, offering an interpretation of his "talking film" genre from the perspective of contemporary 1930s geographical theorist Richard Hartshorne. It is, ultimately, an attempt to make proximity - rather than any single disciplinary lens - the central organizing principle for how these national parks are known and experienced.