Alive! | Jeffery Gibson
The first stop on our trip was Alive! by Jeff Gibson. This installation was located at the Palm Springs Art Museum in their outside sculpture garden. Technically, we didn’t have to enter the museum to see the turbine however it was free to go inside to view the piece up close. So, might as well!
Initially, I thought that the whole sculpture garden was part of Desert X. I didn’t mind because they were still pretty cool pieces, such as this medal, spinny thing. I honestly don’t really know what it was.
Alive! is a painted wind turbine blade. I don’t think I really grasped the enormity of the object until I saw a field of wind turbines during our visit to Mirage (the next installation we saw). The shape of the blade is reminiscent of a wing, fin or a bone found in a whale. I get native vibes because of the patterns and way the words are painted. Looking back, indigenous tribes used to settle in the desert plains and I think that’s the message the artist was trying to convey.
Donation Box | Gabrielle Kuri
Donation Box was located in an empty store. Basically, it took desert sand and placed it inside a commercial building, with coins, cigarette buds and other waste sprinkled on it. It speaks how we take nature and commercialize it and ultimately ruin it.
Las Vegas is a prime example of the message Kuri was conveying. The city took a desert land built a bunch of casino and is littered with people smoking, gambling and trashing it. Have you seen the Las Vegas strip at night?! This is a small scale representation on our impact on the desert.
Mirage | Doug Aitken
The Instagram worthy installation, Mirage.
Mirage is a ranch-style house covered in mirrors, both inside and out. From the outside, the mirrors absorb and reflect the desert landscape, creating a mirage. From the inside, the viewer steps into an endless kaleidoscope, reflecting light and images of the millions of people who are also checking out the exhibit. A reflection between “the dream of nature as pure uninhabited state and the pursuit of its conquest.”
I REALLY enjoyed this exhibit. I like the simplicity of the design and deeper meaning concept, plus I enjoy cool architecture. Because the inside is covered in mirrors and the house has various windows, it feels a lot bigger when you are walking through it. Every turn, every glance, you see something different, maybe it’s the blue sky, the warm desert tones or another visitor. The installation is perfectly named. When walking around the perimeter of the house, the reflection of the desert truly gives the illusion of a mirage. Capture a perfect mirror image of the desert or get an illusion of the land onto the sky, there’s an endless amount of perspectives this piece can be viewed.
Visible Distance / Second Sight | Jennifer Bolande
Driving down the freeway, I can’t help but glance at a billboard every now and then, especially the Chik-Fil-A one with the two cows. Billboards are commercials for drivers.
Bolande’s installation was meant to be experienced while driving, though I do wish there was a place to stop really quick. It’s amazing how she was able to get the correct perspective of the landscape and plaster it on a billboard. I was able to see the point where the billboard blends into the majestic mountain background just at the perfect moment as we zoomed on by.
Billboards and advertisements take away from nature and art. Just think about websites you use, a lot of them flood you with colorful ads and popups (though my pop-up is for you to subscribe to my newsletter 😉 ). They are distractions. That’s why I chose my layout and put minimal ads if I do decide to put some. However, I do understand that people need to make money and advertising is a why to get the word out about a business or remind customers that a company exist.
In the Philippines they have ads the size of 6 story buildings. It’s crazy how big these advertisements are, I feel like I’m looking at a ginormous magazine.
Sometimes billboards are distractions and sometimes they are art.
Monument | Will Boone
I definitely got a tan waiting in line to see this installation, it took us about 30 minutes to get a peak into the underground bunker. Guest climbed down the ladder in groups of around 6.
An eerie silence hung in the air as I descended underground. My boots clicked and clacked on the metal floor. Timidly, I opened the door into a dark room with only the little sunlight that made it’s way down from the surface, illuminating the figure at the end of the room. Three long seconds passed and a spotlight revealed the mysterious figure, our 35th president, John F. Kennedy.
The exhibit represents conspiracy, myth and fear. When I think of JFK, I think of conspiracy. The idea that his assassination was all a lie and he could possibly be still alive. Though he would be ancient if he were still in hiding. The fact that this installation is on the side of the road in the desert allows me to fiddle around with the idea of myths, such as UFOs and Area 51. An idea that is always played with in movies every couple years. E.T. are you out there? Lastly, fear. Bunkers weren’t a thing until man discovered nuclear warfare. The mix of being inside a bunker and the dark vibes you get from climbing down has a feeling of fear and being scared.
The Circle of Land and Sky | Phillip K. Smith
Another Instagram worthy installation.
300 geometric reflective beams angled at 10 degrees, create the Circle of Land and Sky. The pull between earth and the heavens, the shift of west colors and east colors, the contrast between the reality and reflection. It is a piece that can never be seen twice in the same way.
Similar to Mirage‘s use of mirrors, The Circle of Land and Sky is a reflective piece on contrasting ideas that merge, displace and coexist. However, in this installation we take two concepts of nature. As I stepped inside the circle, the sky takes over the earth, but when I walk outside of it and stare at the beams, the sky is cut by land. It is a dance between these two prominent forms of nature,
Curves and Zigzags | Claudia Comte
Not just your ordinary wall, Curves and Zigzags took a two dimensional pattern and placed it on a three dimensional surface. At one end of the wall, the zigzags were sharp but as I scanned to the opposite side, the once strict lines became organic waves.
I love wall art and street art and this took it to another level. John and I got a bit dizzy when we stared at the wall. It demonstrated the contrast between geometric and organic form and the melding of the two.