“Desert, Why?” Offers a Weekend of Art and Education to Kick off Desert X

by Flaunt Magazine

A creative program with a desire for considering our impact on the world around us awaits those who venture out into the dryness, for the Desert, Why? presentation, by Desert X and the Palm Springs Art Museum this weekend.

Showcasing some of the West Coast’s most exciting artists, it all kicks off on Thursday via a chat with Ed Ruscha –  featuring Andrea Zittel, JoAnne Northrup and Brooke Hodge – at the Annenberg Theater.

Friday will be an evening of Indigenous rap and discussion under the banner of “Parallel Narratives.” It will feature Mary Kelly speaking with Desert X co-curators Matthew Schum and Amanda, as well as “An Evening of Performance” with Iñupiaq artist Hunt Allison Akootchook Warden (rap name AKU-MATU), and Nicholas Galanin, a Tlingit-Unangax artist who plays in the band Indian Agent (also including Otis Calvin III and Zak Dylan Wass). The dialogue, spoken word and songs are sure to bring broad topics into razor sharp focus.

Nature and Politics get their close-up on Saturday, as attendees get to examine projects considering the impact of the human race on the environment, and the impact of power dynamics in greasing the wheels of development. That means a trip to the shrinking Salon Sea, the artificial water body that’s 227 feet below sea level. The day will also highlight Armando Lerma, who has worked with the marginalized communities in Coachella’s historic Pueblo Viejo area. There will also be an Iman Issa site viewing during a program titled Sunnylands.

Sunday is expected to bring things to a complex resolution, considering organizers aim to “trace movements and consciousness to build collective memory.” So, in the Palm Springs Art Museum main lobby, that means an examination of – wait for it – lobbying (so participants can learn about topics affecting the Coachella Valley). The day will also send viewers on a Desert Hot Springs site tour, allow them to consider the importance of community gardening with Michelle Castillo and usher them all into the sleep world (hopefully not literally) via Katie Grinnan's 5 Seconds of Dreaming performance with Kozue Matsumoto and Eugene Moon. There she’ll reveal five second bursts of electrical waves (delta brainwaves) translated into notes and improvisations determined by musicians.