The Optical Illusions of Desert X

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.


Pia Camil’s Lover’s Rainbow exists in two locations, Coachella and Baja, symbolising hope in the context of the current US immigration crisis.

Pia Camil’s Lover’s Rainbow exists in two locations, Coachella and Baja, symbolising hope in the context of the current US immigration crisis.

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.

Dive-In by Superflex resembles a bubblegum pink reconstruction of a Stonehenge trilithon that also doubles up as a film screen at night. Weekly projections of an underwater scene remind us of the pre-historic lake that once occupied Coachella Valley and of global warming impacts, which are set to drastically alter our physical environment.

Dive-In by Superflex resembles a bubblegum pink reconstruction of a Stonehenge trilithon that also doubles up as a film screen at night. Weekly projections of an underwater scene remind us of the pre-historic lake that once occupied Coachella Valley and of global warming impacts, which are set to drastically alter our physical environment.

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.

A giant digital simulation, Western Flag, by Irish artist John Gerrard highlights the threat of carbon dioxide levels in the earth's atmosphere spurred on by the use of fossil fuels.

A giant digital simulation, Western Flag, by Irish artist John Gerrard highlights the threat of carbon dioxide levels in the earth's atmosphere spurred on by the use of fossil fuels.

Ivan Argote’s installation A Point of View, located not far from the Mexican border, acts as a platform to project the visitor into the landscape.  https://www.desertx.org    Copyright © 2019, Telling Tales by Cecilia Lindström. All rights reserved.

Ivan Argote’s installation A Point of View, located not far from the Mexican border, acts as a platform to project the visitor into the landscape.

https://www.desertx.org

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

Ghost Cabins - Somewhere North of Pioneertown

Ghost Cabins - Somewhere North of Pioneertown

The Floating Piers of Lake Iseo

The Floating Piers of Lake Iseo