Ghost Cabins - Somewhere North of Pioneertown

Ghost Cabins - Somewhere North of Pioneertown

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Rachel Whiteread’s Ghost Cabins in the high desert north of Pioneertown nestle amongst the jackrabbit homestead cabins that pepper pot this area, many of which stand abandoned and “ghostly”.  

Just south-west of the crossing Dog Iron Lane and Gamma Gulch Road, they hide behind the crooked Joshua Trees. Their subtle concrete finish blends with the desert hues, making them almost impossible to spot. The cabins are solid and impenetrable objects, with elevational imprints and patterning that echo the simple architecture of the local vernacular. Rachel Whiteread is known for her spectral casts of building interiors, creating familiar domestic impressions from the spaces that we inhabit; rooms or whole buildings are used as moulds that are pumped full of concrete. Once set, the walls are removed, leaving only the cast of the interior to create a negative space in the landscape.

Unable to step inside, you may climb the cabins to take in the view from the rooftop. Bring a friend to help you get up and come back down. The setting is calm and solitary. No one is to be seen, and the only sound is that of distant birdsong.

The roads here are simple dirt tracks, and the sand is loose and lacks support. My sports car sunk into the ground like a cowboy on quicksand, so drive a 4x4 when venturing this way to avoid towing.

Be mindful of neighbours as this is a quiet residential area. Don’t be discouraged by the “No Trespassing, Armed Response” signs, as long as you are respectful and keep a distance from private homes. Step firmly to scare off rattlesnakes.

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Getting here: nearest airport is Palm Springs or LAX for international visitors. Pioneertown is a 1 hour drive north of Palm Springs, and a 2.5 - 3 hour drive east of Los Angeles depending on traffic. The Ghost Cabins are located a 10 minute drive north of Pioneertown.

Copyright © 2019, Telling Tales by Cecilia Lindström. All rights reserved.

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