The Bus Project. Self-published fanzine, 8″ x 8″, distributed for free at the bus shelters and streets of Phoenix.
The project focuses on the social impact of the Public Bus System in the Phoenix Metro Area, a city with a strong car culture. The idea was born by the frustration that I felt trying to move through the valley without a car, using a system whose dysfunction and idiosyncrasies seem endemic to most urban areas in the American Southwest. With a fanzine format, this project attempts to give a face to the urban landscape through dialogue and portraits of the people who move through it. Transportation infrastructures have a role in the creation of “The Public”. They make it visible, give it form, and locate it in predictable and controllable spaces. They also channel it, authorizing paths of movement through otherwise disorderly environments. The concept of “The Public” is usually so faceless, normative and bland, that we often lose sight of the people who are a part of it. Riders of buses are not mere “users” with interchangeable values and needs. They have faces, feelings and voices, personal histories, social networks, job obligations and family needs. Understanding how riders interact with the urban landscape cannot be reduced to: “People use buses.” Using the bus means actively and critically engaging with an array of material and abstract entities: Boarding a vehicle, paying a fare, reading a schedule, scrutinizing a map, following a route, or two or three, tracking time, seeking shelter from the sun or the rain, speaking to, or avoiding, other passengers. These small, continuous interlocking events are what keeps the city and its public alive and in motion.