High Desert Test Sites (HDTS 2011) is a weekend of new experimental art, and exploratory architecture and design projects, sited in the Southern California high desert. HDTS 2011 generates physical and conceptual spaces for art exploring the intersections between contemporary art and life at large. Scattered along a stretch of diverse desert communities that include Joshua Tree, Pioneertown, Wonder Valley, Yucca Valley, and 29 Palms, the sites provide a place for both fleeting and long-term experimental projects. Now in its eigth year High Desert Test Sites was founded in 2002 by Lisa Anne Auerbach, Shaun Caley-Regen, John Connelly, Andy Stillpass, and Andrea Zittel.
On November 12 2011 Danielle McCullough and Gabie Strong will lead a sun-print cyanotype process workshop using 19th century photographic techniques and contemporary materials gathered from the desert floor to produce images of white on a sea of bright blue. Blast Site is a monument to future failures, marking survival in the high desert, invoking both the ancient and the new. The workshop includes a post-apocalyptic narrative hike through Blast Site – the urban, rural and mythic areas of the high desert. An artist book and CD soundtrack Blast Site: A Field Guide to Excavating Our Future Failures, presents high desert field research including essays on the military-industrial complex, indigenous mythology of the region, poetry, survival cooking recipes, maps and ephemera.
HDTS 2011, (October 15/16 2011) was curated by the McCarthy Family, Robert Stone, and Brooks Hudson Thomas, and featured new works by emerging and established artists, architects, and designers including: Ball Nogues Studio, Bob Carr, bodycity, Claude Collins-Stracensky, N. Dash, Sam Falls, and Kol Solthon, Sid M. Duenas and Naotaka Hiro, Shari Elf, Dawn Kasper, Tyler Matthew Oyer, Ephraim Puusemp, Kiersten Puusemp, ROLU and WELCOME PROJECTS, Scout Regalia, Adam Silverman, LeRoy Stevens, Von Tundra. A zine-style publication, designed by David Dodge, with contributions by the Llano del Rio Collective, was created for the event.
Images: Ephraim Puusemp, Rise; Danielle McCullough and Gabie Strong; Blast Site: A Monument to Future Failures, 2011. Cyanotype fabric, painted leather, slipcrete, silver, ash, paint, pallets, wood, 16mm film with pen and ink, 16mm projector. Photo by Gabie Strong; Ball Nugues Studio, rendering of Yucca Crater; Bob Carr and his Crystal Cave; Tyler Matthew Oyer, Hello Dolly.