Desert X, the recurring site-specific, international art exhibition, opens its fourth edition today at sites across the Coachella Valley, California. Curated by Artistic Director Neville Wakefield and Co-Curator Diana Campbell, the exhibition will activate the desert landscape through 12 installations by artists from Europe, North America, and South Asia, whose poetic and immersive works span sculpture, painting, photography, writing, architecture, design, film, music, performance and choreography, education, and environmental activism.
In the exhibition, which builds on social and environmental themes explored in earlier editions, newly-commissioned works make visible, as instruments of self-awareness and devices of wonder, the forces that we exert on the world: how we design our environments, how we live, and the messages we send that reinforce systems that might or might not be beneficial for us. From the local to the global, from schools and roads to global trade routes that define the ebb and flow of goods and many things in-between, infrastructure has subsumed creative ways of being that are inconvenient to forces of power.
Liquid A Place
Homme Adams Park
72500 Thrush Road, Palm Desert
Torkwase Dyson describes herself as a painter working across multiple mediums to explore the continuity between ecology, infrastructure and architecture. Dyson’s abstract works are visual and material systems used to construct fusions of surface tension, movement, scale, real and finite space. With an emphasis on the ways black and brown bodies perceive and negotiate space as information, Dyson looks to spatial liberation strategies from historical and contemporary perspectives. She seeks to uncover new understandings of the potential for more livable geographies, recognizing that many landscapes, infrastructures, and built environments were actively shaped to devalue Black life.
Liquid A Place is part of an ongoing series that started from the premise that we are the water in the room, inviting viewers to consider their bodily interconnection with rivers and oceans that surround us. After all, around 60 percent of our bodies and 70 percent of the planet is water, and these waters circulate across our bodies and the planet as they shift states from solid to liquid to gas.
For this iteration of Liquid A Place, Dyson creates a monumental sculpture that is a poetic meditation connecting the memory of water in the body and the memory of the water in the desert. How do we go to the water in our bodies to harvest memory? Can this liquid memory help us reconsider scale and distance as critical forms in holding onto liberatory life practices? What kind of scalable infrastructure can our bodies resist and invent, making cities more livable? How are new geographies formed from the architecture of our bodies?