‘Exponential’ Site-specific installation at Desert Dairy in Twentynine Palms, California.
Created between January 18 – January 25, 2020.
Materials: found objects on-site, twine.
I am very grateful to Anna Stump and Ted Meyer for the opportunity to be able to spend some time in such a special place.
I worked for a week on this installation in the Mojave desert, enjoying solitude and silence, waking up with the sun, working outside, with the changing light on the landscape around. The weather has been enjoyable. I spent time looking around and getting inspired by this beautiful place that was unfortunately used as a dump for some time after it stopped being a dairy farm. It has since been cleaned up, but there are still objects that are buried very close to the surface.
To create the installation, I chose a fragile decaying structure on the property. I started by cleaning up around and inside the structure. By doing this I found many plastic and metal objects (or pieces of objects). It was like doing some sort of archeology of the Anthropocene, a few miles away from the entrance of Joshua National Park. We do pay special attention to certain places and for the rest, there are not many rules and ecosystems are being damaged.
I used most of the objects and pieces of objects in the installation.
I covered one of the outside walls with things that were once used and that are now part of the immense number of things being discarded. All these objects are made with resources that come from the earth. The more we made, the more we use finite resources, some of them being very problematic (all plastics are made with oil).
This is a representation of a complex system. We live in a world that is more and more complex, therefore more and more fragile. The system holds until one thread collapses and then it creates a chain reaction, and the whole system collapses.
A ‘rock collection’ (mere pieces of concrete) are shown on the shelves inside the structure. We are facing a shortage in the available sand we have to build structures. And, strangely, all the sand in the desert will not help, as the sand needed for concrete is ‘marine sand’. Marine sand is found at the bottom of rivers, on beaches and at the bottom of lakes and oceans. Sand on beaches is being stolen around the world.
An ensemble of fragile cyanotypes on paper made with native plants completes the installation.
This residency was a beautiful way to connect with nature, and to focus on what I am passionate about, the certitude that there is no infinite growth in a finite world, that the solution is not to find green solutions to continue to live the same way we are living, but to question the meaning of all this, and to invent a future where growth and consumption are not the motors of all things. I enjoyed silence during my residency but I also listened to podcasts. I recently discovered @_sismiqu and Presages, both French. They are very insightful interviews and perspectives about what is going on in the world today to envision possible futures. I also follow Thinkerview. I am very inspired by all the people I am listening to, including Laurent Testot, Jean-Marc Jancovici, Arthur Keller, Aurelien Barreau, Philippe Bihouix, Gael Giraud, Jean Jouzel, Pierre Larrouturou, Delphine Batho, Dominique Bourg.
SHORT VIDEO of the installation, by Ted Meyer.