The Optical Illusions of Desert X
The Desert X outdoor art biennale returned for a second instalment in spring 2019, continuing the tradition of using the desert as a canvas for creative intervention.
Colourful and provocative installations are positioned throughout the Coachella Valley, from Palm Springs in the west to the Salton Sea in the east, where they exist in extraordinary juxtaposition with the arid desert landscape.
The artificial gloss and perfect geometry of Sterling Ruby’s Spectre (pictured at the top of the page) appears like a negative space in the landscape - a redacted scene where a chunk of the desert has been censored or erased.
Often remotely located, tucked away behind a residential neighbourhood, at the end of a dirt road track or on the side of a highway, they are challenging to find. The Desert X catalogue and visitors’ map provide no address, but simply a GPS coordination (which I’m unable to tap into my navigation system).
I was guided by the sheer scale and vibrant colours of the installations; when within ones field of view, they act like giant beacons or impossible desert illusions that draw you in.