Desert X3 CL

Psycho Places

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.

Desert X CL 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.

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.

Desert X1 CL 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.

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Cecilia Lindström is an Associate Director, Urban Designer and Researcher at Studio Egret West.

An inquisitive storyteller and placemaker constantly on the search for the strange and wonderful, Cecilia chronicles her travels on her website


Psycho Places