Weekend at the HQ

IMG_8277All of our High Desert Test Sites volunteers are away for the holidays, so I spent this weekend sitting the HDTS HQ.

IMG_8289Emmett showed me the white pocket knife that he wants…

IMG_8328I got to  commune with the  Field Kitchen by Harald Kantz  –   my own personal object of desire.  (someday I’m going to get one!)

IMG_8321Tim brought us a cool new book that he found in Wonder Valley for our Desert Research Library called “Our Desert Neighbors”

IMG_8298If anyone is super organized and has the time to get involved in a project, we could use help organizing our library and making cards for each book listing who donated it.

IMG_8341And Kip came by to brainstorm about a film screening at the HQ!


richard rigg

Richard Rigg, a wonderfully well mannered and willowy artist from Newcastle (UK) has been our guest here at AZ West for the last week while he works on a project “Inhabitant of the Watchtower”  – a collaboration with CIRCA Projects that coincides with his exhibition at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art.  After working tirelessly all week to assemble the transmitter in the sweltering August heat, he finally headed out to the hottest and most remote edge of Wonder Valley to install – working quickly to get everything set up during the brief cooling sunset hours.


Amy and Wendy Yao’s Art Swap Meet

Here are a bunch of photos from Amy and Wendy Yao’s HDTS Art Swap meet at the Sky Village Swap Meet last weekend!  For those unfamiliar with Sky Village – this it is one of the secret gems of the high desert.  Formerly a drive in movie theater, the swap meet is owned by Bob Carr, who has turned the entire location into an extension of his own amazing art practice (for more of this check out the “Crystal Cave” in the heart of the swap meet – right next to the cafeteria)

The latest addition too the Crystal Cave (just in time for the big weekend) is a running river that flows through the center of the cave (Bob says that eventually there will be three rivers – so that means two more tributaries still to be built in the future)

Amy and Wendy’s events always draw a really great and hugely diverse array of artists – this year there were participants from New York, Portland, Switzerland, Amsterdam, Canada, Norway, Brussels, Glasgow, Berlin, Paris, Sweden and more…


the hq has it all…

 Last Thursday Patrick, our intrepid HDTS intern Ari, and Andrea erected and installed our beautiful new HDTS signs. The HQ is tucked around the corner off of 29 Palms Hwy – and we don’t have a lot of visibility to those taking the straight and narrow through Morogono Basin.  Plus lots of people don’t even know who we are.  A guy came in a few weeks ago asking if High Desert Test Sites is where we give tests to the homeschoolers!  Anyway, Randy Brill at the Sky Harbor Swap Meet came through for us once again with this suite of signs, hand made with a router.  And Patrick and Ari dug some REALLY deep holes right next to the sidewalk by the entrance of the HDTS HQ.
Like the sign says, the HQ sort of has it all.  You can check out our HDTS archive (both in book form and on a DVD), old HDTS publications and posters (including some really amazing hand made silkscreens by Jenny Nichols),  the most current driving map to existing sites, and lots of other really cool stuff made by HDTS artists and Joshua Tree locals that we are selling to help offset the costs of running the space.

How to Survive

Last weekend  at A-Z West Michael Parker and Alyse Emdur led their fantastic  “How to Survive”  workshop – part of High Desert Test Sites “The New Everyday Life” series.  For two days 12 participants constructed their own solar ovens in the brand new studio at A-Z West,  practiced survival choreography in the western wash with Flora Wiegmann,   were initiated into the nuances of liquor distillation by Aaron Freeman and Tyler Nathan, ate a delicious solar cooked dinner up at the cabin, and finally partook in a sunday afternoon exploration of  Aaron and Ronda Mueller’s completely off-the-grid lifestyle up in one of the most remote areas behind Pioneertown.


now screening at the HQ…

We just got a big flat screen monitor at the HQ – Look at how great Brennan Conway’s video “Trajectory” looks on it!  We first met Brennan when he volunteered to help out with the deep dessert screening of Bernd Behr’s video.  After finding out more about Brennan own work we thought it would be a great addition to the ever expanding offerings at the HDTS Headquarters.

In 2008 Brennan was awarded a residency at CLUI’s Wendover, Utah location  – The town is near wide open salt flats and surrounded on two sides by vast weapons- testing areas.  Brennan thought this was a good place to perform his own weapons test with a lever-action rifle, or “repeating rifle” – often called the “gun that won the west.”  Taking aim at the distant horizon, he fired a single bullet across the desert… then he went searching for it.


Indigo Girls

Here are some photos from the Indigo Girls performance by Travis Boyer.  Originally I thought this would be a sort of “dye party” but once we got going it became clear that it was really an endurance performance in which Travis magically helped a never-ending line of participants unravel the mysteries of indigo dying.  Like why the stuff comes out of the dye-bath a bright acid green. And how to avoid getting any extra oxygen into the batch.


And it is still cold in the desert – cold enough that in the late afternoon everyone’s clothes froze on the clothesline.