DESERT X-PLORATION

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For the past decade, the announcement of the Coachella lineup normally marks the start of the 7-month long Festival Season. But one of the more exciting things it’s beginning to denote is Desert X; a contemporary art exhibition that utilizes the Southern California desert as one large gallery. The general idea is to bring attention to a number of issues pertaining to the surrounding environment through various works of art.

The first thing I wanted to view was the Sterling Ruby installation, but unfortunately there was a mean dust storm being kicked up which was way too harmful for my gear. We even came back later in the day to see if the dust would settle, but it was still aggressively blowing. So we had to view it from the safety of our car.

Luckily, the rest of the installations weren’t affected by this and we were free to view as we pleased. Each piece had the same visually arresting quality that I am attuned to: an unnatural human-made object juxtaposed in a natural setting. I am the ape-neanderthal and these are the monoliths.

It was a fun day trip that reminded me of how lucky we are to have both our gorgeously broad deserts and the genius artists that are able to expand on that beauty with social and environmental consciousness.

And to drive further on that point, it was like 80 degrees out there. Which if you’ve been living in California through the winter, you forgot what that felt like (which is also unnatural in itself). #ClimateChangeIsReal

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Anthony Tran