Desert X 2021


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DesertX is a biennial contemporary art exhibition held in Coachella Valley. In 2021, the 3rd installation of this event, they had various artists participating from all over the world. Here are some highlights:

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ParaPivot (sempiternal clouds).

Alicja Kwade.

ParaPivot consists of interlocking metal frames that support large white marbles that look like parts of a disintegrated glacier. Visitors are encouraged to approach in and out of the installation from different sides. The result is an illusion of instability where the marbles appear to shift and wobble precariously. Heisenberg's uncertainty principle lies at the heart of this work. The uncertainty principle depicts the fuzziness of nature, where we cannot measure the position and the momentum of a particle with absolute precision. With every step, the sculpture and its components transform into new combinations, illustrating instability of perception and the state of the environment.

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What lies behind the walls.

Zahrah Alghamdi.

Zahrah is a Saudi Arabian visual artist. She was fascinated by the connection between the desert landscape of Coachella valley and the architecture from her homeland. The result is this 25-feet tall monolithic wall that is comprised of stacked folded carpets infused with cement, soil, and dyes specific to each region. The synthesis of the traditionally built forms from Saudi Arabia with the architectural organization commonplace in the Coachella Valley ties together the landscapes of the California desert and the southwestern Saudi Arabian desert.

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The wishing well.

Serge Attukwei Clottey.

Serge is a Ghana-born artist who created the concept of "afrogallonism." Yellow square elements in this installation are pieces of yellow gallon containers used for exporting oil to Ghana. These yellow oil jerrycans are later used as water storage containers in almost every household in Ghana. With time, they disintegrated. Afterward, they were disposed of carelessly and became an environmental hazard. The wishing well emphasizes the struggles of accessing water in most of the under-developed world. At the same time, these colonial relics "serve as a constant reminder of the legacies of empire and of global movements for environmental justice." For the past 17 years, Serge is using these materials to incite conversations around trade and migration.

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Never Forget.

Nicholas Galanin.

It is a 45-foot-tall sign styled like the Hollywood sign at Los Angeles, spelled "Hollywoodland" when it was first erected in 1923. In Galanin's own words - “The original Hollywoodland sign was an advertisement for a real estate development for white-only land purchases. This work is essentially the opposite: a call to landowners and others to invite them to join the land back movement” and return the land to local Indigenous communities.

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The passenger.

Eduardo Sarabia.

Not visible from the ground, this art installation is an arrow-shaped maze made up of traditional rugs woven from palm fibers. For centuries, humans migrated for a better future. This installation's labyrinth reminds us of the treacherous journey men and women took, despite all the uncertainties. From DesertX hub - "The passenger speaks to the challenges and aspirations that encourage journeys and pays tribute to the people who have embarked upon them."

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Women’s Qualities.

Ghada Amer.

Ghada spelled out a ring of words: strong, caring, determined, beautiful, loving, nurturing, resilient using blooming plants. She asked men and women of Coachella valley to share qualities that they identify with or to which they have been assigned. According to Ghada, it was "an act of looking both inward and outward, yielding a form of self-portraiture." Unfortunately, this is another installation that is not properly visible from the ground level.

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Jackrabbit Homestead.

Kim Stringfellow.

1938 Small Tract Act authorized the lease of up to five acres of public land for recreational purposes or use as a home, cabin, camp, or business site to U.S. citizens. If the applicant can make a small dwelling on that piece of land within three years, s/he can claim ownership of the land. In Kim's own words, "this mid-century homestead movement reflects the American desire to claim territory and own a piece of the land even if the property in question is virtually worthless from an economic perspective." This 112-square-foot installation stranded between the Palm Desert Chamber of Commerce and a CVS incites dialogues about the mid-century homesteading experience. Inside the cabin, one can hear Catherine Venn Peterson's voice chronicling her 1950 homesteading experience.

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  • krishna roy

    3 weeks ago

    Amazing ,You have explained it so nicely.

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