July, 2008
Thank you so much to everyone who helped out with the Bernd Behr Film presentation on June 28th!

Brennan Conway
Charissa Niles
Chris Veit
Douglas Amour
Mores McWreath
Marissa Mandler
Alexandra Wetzel
The wonderful folks at the Palms (don't visit Wonder Valley without stopping in)
Dean Chamberlain
Chad Brown

Plus a huge thank you to Cornelius Schnauber for his presentation at the Palms of an illustrated tour of the homes and haunts once inhabited and frequented by European exiles in 1930s Los Angeles.

And to all of you... who braved the distance and the heat and resourcefully found your through the dark desert night by using the guiding light of your cell phones, and to Peggy and Alexia who got stuck in the sand while bringing ice to chill warm beer, to Robert Stone who left the party and went back to rescue the car stuck in on the side of the road after the event, and most of all we would like to thank Bernd Behr who was completely wonderful to work with - who after over a year of planning and fund raising slogged it out in the heat heat and the sand along with the rest of us to make this project a reality.



HDTS summertime presentation: June 28th 2008
"House Without a Door" a film by Bernd Behr

(Scroll down for the schedule of events and driving directions)
*Important - if you plan to eat dinner at the Palms please RSVP here!

On June 28th, 2008 High Desert Test Sites is pleased to collaborate with the Center for Land Use Interpretation to present a film by London based artist Bernd Behr titled House Without a Door. The weekend will include a Saturday afternoon panel discussion, followed by dinner at the Palms in Wonder Valley and then an evening screening of the film on the most remote Test Site on Iron Age Road. (Low impact camping will be allowed on the site, and we may try to organize some sort of brunch the following morning) For more information keep checking our web site, or sign up for the mailing list below!

About the film: Produced during a CLUI residency in Wendover, Utah, Bernd Behr's "House Without a Door" explores the relationship between film and architecture, linking a US military test structure with references to 1920s German expressionist film.

In 1943 the US military commissioned émigré architect Erich Mendelsohn and Hollywood studio RKO to design and build a replica Berlin housing estate in the Utah desert to test incendiary bombs eventually deployed in the air raids on Dresden and Berlin. Behr's interest lies in the performative nature of the building, embodied in its cultural/geographical displacement and its function of repeatedly performing its own destruction.

Borrowing its title from the early expressionist film House Without a Door (1914), which has no surviving print, Behr's work fictionalizes the now inaccessible interior of this building through a set of references to 1920s German expressionist films, including Faust (F.W. Murnau, 1926) and Dr. Mabuse (F. Lang, 1922). These references reflect Mendelsohn's own relation to expressionist theatre, Weimar filmmakers and the proximity of the test site to an actual village in Utah called 'Faust'.

House Without a Door will be shown as a large-scale outdoor screening with a specially commissioned soundtrack by Marcus Fjellström. It is supported by Center for Land Use Interpretation, University of Gloucestershire, England, and through a Film London Artists' Film and Video Award. The work has previously been exhibited at the Chisenhale Gallery, London, 2006, and e-raum, Cologne, 2007. This joint HDTS/CLUI presentation has been supported by British Council and deciBel.

Bernd Behr was born in Germany in 1976 and lives and works in London.
He was short listed for the Beck's Futures Prize at ICA, London in 2003 and is
a recipient of a deciBel Award, 2006."
November 24th, 2007

If you would like to stay abreast of HDTS updates, events and projects send an email



*Important - if you plan to eat dinner at the Palms please RSVP here! Food can get scarce when a crowd shows up, and we want to make sure we have enough on hand for everyone. Tell us who you are and how many will be in your party.
The management thanks you!

Saturday afternoon presentations at the Palms:

4:00 Bernd Behr: Expressionist Military Film Sets Test Site
London-based artist Bernd Behr introduces his project "House Without a Door" with an illustrated talk tracing an associative history of film architecture linked to a replica Berlin housing tract built in 1943 on a U.S. military test site.

5:00 Cornelius Schnauber: Homes and Haunts of Exile Hollywood
Los Angeles-based novelist, playwright, and director of the Max Kade Institute at USC, Cornelius Schnauber presents an illustrated tour of the houses and buildings once inhabited and frequented by European exiles in 1930s Los Angeles.

Saturday evening at the Palms:

6:00 Dinner (RSVP:

6:30-7:30 Live music by Dean Chamberlain

Saturday night screening at Iron Age Road:
Bernd Behr, "House Without a Door"

8:30 Film Screening

10:00 After party (at the site) with music by Chad Brown

Special thanks to Chris Veit and Douglas Armour for facilitating PR and logistics, Jenny Nichols for her amazing hand silk screened posters, and to the Palms for their unflagging hospitality.



To the general area:
Go to the "directions" page for driving directions to 29 Palms Hwy.

To the Palms:
Drive east on the 29 Palms Hwy to the heart of 29 Palms. Turn LEFT on Adobe Road, and then RIGHT on on Amboy Road. The Palms bar and restaurant will be about 13 miles on the RIGHT side of the road.

To Iron Age Road:
From the Palms continue on Amboy Road (driving East) until road inclines and starts to curve left . Very soon on the right you will see the sign for Iron Age Road (we will figure out some sort of marker) - turn RIGHT. Drive a few more miles on dirt road until you see cars. Park and look for the film.

*It will be dark and you will think that you are lost so drive carefully.




November, 2007

Site Report: It seems that vandals have been stealing major sections of the Geo Chain installed by Scott Wayne Indiana in 2006.

Scott just drove down from Portland Oregon about two week ago to add 400 feed to the chain, which are now already mysteriously missing. If you want to do a nice deed for Scott come visit the Geo Chain and add some links. (send photos and a report of added chain to Scott at

For directions and more information click here:

Geo Chain:
Installed in June of 2006, this project invites participation from others to contribute to a growing chain that aspires to travel around the world. Aside from the political overtones of a new globalization and the idea of a round-the-world trek, the GEO CHAIN is a symbol for the last of the dreamers. The very act of traveling to the chain and adding to it is at once pragmatic toward the stated goal yet simultaneously absurd with regards to the overwhelming distance yet to be covered. The length of the chain does not matter as long as the idea stays alive. Therefore, the quixotic participants, who travel across the desert and add their links, effectively engage in a sweeping hopeful gesture, and momentarily contemplate the grand stillness of the living idea as it calmly waits to enter the giant expanse of the open landscape ahead.

October 29, 2007

Christy Gast (HDTS Alum) is curating a year long project for a local TV station in Moab, Utah. MAC 21 is a small cable station that broadcasts in a single secluded valley community, and the owner has graciously agreed air an artist's video every week in 2008. The videos will be inserted into normal programming, and thus will air once every hour or so for one week each.

Most of the station's broadcast range is uninhabited wilderness. The station is viewed by locals in Moab, as well as tourists passing through, as it's the community information channel in all of the hotel rooms. Thus, hotel rooms will be an exhibition site outside of the art fair context.

The deadline is February - If you would like to participate send your videos and DVD, CV, and artist statement to:

Videos should be less than five minutes long that have broadly to do with tourism, nature, or TV. Keep in mind that the station must follow FCC regulations ( The broadcast will be linked with a website containing a schedule, video stills, artist statements, and contact info.

Christy Gast
1415 E Gadsden St.
Pensacola, FL 32501

October 10, 2007

Join our web based community group commoitted to preserving quality of life in The Morongo Basin. There are lots of changes going on in our area these days- this is a great way to stay informed and to initiate dialog related your own questions about living in the high desert.

To subscribe to the discussion group click here. (just send in the email without changing the subject line) If you want to explore the discussions without joining click here.

September 22, 2007

The High Desert Test Sites event will now be organized once every other year. The tentative date for our next event is spring 09. In the meantime we will to start to focus on artists, architects, visionaries and other desert kooks who are out here“doing it” in the high desert.

Check back soon for a new web based component of this project…

May 18, 2007

HDTS 07 would not have been possible without the amazing help that we received this weekend!

Among (but not limited to) those we would like to thank are:

The Pilgrims: who came out all the way from Boston for a long week working in the sun (and dark) to help pull it off.

Wade Aaron (who's engineering skills repeatedly saved the day- he fixed Andrea's swamp cooler, and saved us hours of trying to figure out how the HQ tent went together)

Krista Caballero (on day one she couldn't give up trying to ride the unicycle, inspiring others to fearlessly attempt one wheeling.... on day two she could barely walk)

Vasia Markides (our resident First Aid expert. Though we had tons of band-aids, iodine, and gauze, the unicycle shop never saw a drop of blood... the only injury was her own splinter!)

Thomas Stevenson (who miraculously fixed the scratchy sound of the Polish Western Film on Saturday night by pouring beer on the ground wire)

Barbara Gallucci For sending us the Pilgrims

Jay Lizo - the HDTS HQ Headmaster - we need you forever!

Steve Walters For being super fun, well mannered and helping at all things.

Akemi Martin: For all of her help this year at the HQ

Nicki Belle and Ian Chang After a rollicking day at HQ, they followed the unicycle truck back to LA in their soybean oil powered Mercedes and got the shop moved into the backyard.

Ralph Gorrill at the Joshua Tree Music Store (and the Acoustic Music Festival!) for his generosity and support

Ethan and Chris at Coyote Corner- for use of their lot and letting us turn the fire pit into a swimming hole!

Susan Dingley at Pioneertown Motel - for being utterly calm and unflappable, and helping with all pioneertown related.

Ray Woods-for his electrical powers - go Ray Woods!

Terri Williams
- for generously allowing us to use her amazing spread on Mane Street for the film projection on Saturday night.

Jack Pierson - the host with the mostest

Laura, Mary and James at the Palms- for hosting the best place to eat drink and make friends on the west end of the basin.

Robin and Linda at Pappy and Harriet's - for saying ok to everything no matter how many times the plan changed.

Randy Plumbo and Shari Elf at the Art Queen
- you rock!

Bonnie and Stacy at the Crossroads for graciously supporting our weekend of madness


And most of all to the organizers and artists. Because HDTS has zero funding and is completely non-commercial every part of the event is facilitated for by the organizers and artists themselves.

Andy Stillpass for bringing us "Summer Love" by Piotr Uklanski (After this weekend we have decided that Andy should be a subject of the next Werner Hertzog film)

Shaun Regen - for putting us on the global art map with our beautiful invites, and hosting a moment of glamour and refreshment on Sunday morning.

John Connelly - who makes the longest trip of us all (from NYC) and always brings us artists who we love.

David Dodge for our superb graphics and catalog.

Lisa Anne Auerbach - for your enthusiasm and power.

Ali Subotnick and the Wrong Gallery - for the Wrong Gallery Flagpole and excellent David Shrigley Flag.

Eungie Joo - for introducing us to Rodney McMillian who probably now thinks that we are all nuts.

And the artists:

David Shrigley

Rodney McMillian

Liz Larner

Julia Scher

Piotr Uklanski

John Bock

Ann Magnuson

Lisa Anne Auerbach

Jack Pierson

The Wagon Station Customizers:
Carolyn Castano
Aaron Noble
Chris James
Chuck Moffit
Jennifer Nocon
Connie Walsh and Chris Young
Giovanni Jance
Jonas Hauptman
Andrea Zittel and David Dodge
Guy Green
Veronica Fernandez and Peter Blackburn

Amy and Wendy Yao's Swapmeet participants:
Alice Konitz, Katrin Pesch & Michael Rashkow
Mountain School of Arts
Patrick Jackson & Matt Borusso
Little Chan
Jasime Little
Chris Lipomi
Amy Yao & Wendy Yao
Sara Clendening
Ooga Booga


Also there is a new PDF of the catalog for HDTS 07 on the catalog page, as well as instructions for ordering a hard copy.

Photos of HDTS 07 will be coming soon - if you have some that you would like to share send them here.


HDTS 07 will be held on May 12th and 13th, 2007


The countdown has begun! Here are the things that you will need to remember:



*Also there are a handful of rooms reserved by Regen Projects available at the 29 Palms Inn for this upcoming weekend. If anybody needs a room to contact Fatima at the gallery by phone (310) 276 5424 or email

In addition to the driving tour there will be four meeting points/times throughout the weekend: Maps will be available on May 12th and 13th from 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM at the HDTS HQ, directly south of Coyote Corner on Park Drive in downtown Joshua Tree:

Saturday the 12th 11:00 AM - We will start handing out driving maps at the HDTS HQ next to Coyote Corner in downtown Joshua Tree. Don't forget to check out Lisa Anne Auerbach's unicycle rental shop right next door!

Saturday evening at 6:00 PM - Head up to Pioneeertown for dinner at Pappy and Harriet's Pioneertown Palace for Piotr Uklanski's Polish Western Film: "Summer Love". *The film will be shown in the center of historic Pioneertown (which used to be a movie set for old westerns) so bring chairs! (the street is dusty)

At the end of the evening the HDTS group will migrate down the hill to the Joshua Tree Saloon for a spectacular and indescribable performance by Ann Magnuson.

Sunday the 13th at noontime - Head out to the Palms Restaurant on Amboy Road in Wonder Valley for lunch and a swap meet organized by Amy and Wendy Yao. There will be booths by: Alice Konitz, Katrin Pesch & Michael Rashkow, Mountain School of Arts, Patrick Jackson & Matt Borusso, Little Chan, Chris Lipomi, Amy Yao & Wendy Yao, Sara Clendening

Editions, Etc by: Pentti Monkkonen, Piero Golia, David Benjamin Sherry, Justin Beal - Mike E. Smith, Petrova Giberson, Shannon Ebner & Erika Vogt, Michele Abeles, Violet Hopkins, Derek Larson, Marie Jager, Avigail Moss, John Bianchi, Laura Kleger, Tyson Reeder, Reka Reisinger, Donald Morgan

+ a variety of Books, CDs, etc from Ooga Booga, Los Angeles

Sunday afternoon at about 4:00 PM The Art Queen in down town Joshua Tree will be hosting their a wind-down opening and party for their rock star show.

*Also check out the High Desert Acoustic Music Festival organized by Ralph at the Joshua Tree Music Store! The event happens all weekend, at the same location as our HDTS HQ. Plus Ralph has been great about sharing the space and maybe helping us with our insurance - thanks Ralph!

Friday 4:00-10:00 PM
Saturday 10:00AM - 1:00 PM
Sunday 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Tickets are on sale at the Music Store - for more info call 760-366-5660

* We are looking for responsible, sturdy, fun volunteers to manage the HDTS headquarters and to help various artists with their projects throughout the weekend . If you are willing to help please email Maude at

SOUND CAMP: May 5-6, 2007

Organized by RoutesAndMethods:
an open venue for the communication and exchange of ideas (the people who brought you Cold Storage)

And hosted by High Desert Test Sites at their most remote location.
*please note: Sound Camp is located at a remote location down a series of unmarked dirt roads. Due to this you will need to register for the weekend in advance so that we can caravan the final 30-40 minutes.

Join us for a weekend exploring sound in the high desert above Pioneertown, USA. The group will meet at a coffee shop in Yucca Valley on Saturday May 5, 2007 at 11am. You will need to bring sleeping gear, a bowl and utensils. Also, each person needs to bring five gallons of water. All food will be provided for the weekend. All are welcome to attend, but space is very limited, so you MUST register. We will be organizing carpools, as the number of cars driven to the site needs to be limited to about a dozen with approximately 50 people attending. Plan to stay through Sunday afternoon.

Registration will open on April 9, 2007 at 8pm. If you would like to send us an email to express your interest and receive a reminder email please email

General Details and Logistics:
The goal is to explore sound in this large open space. There will be approximately 50-60 people in attendance for the weekend. Meals are going to be prepared and eaten with the group . The camp is centered around a series of boulder mounds and joshua trees with a natural amphitheater living room with an adjoining stone kitchen. There are many sites to set up your tents or to simply lay down your sleeping roll.

Food: All the food is going to be eaten family style and made from crops grown by Southern California farmers. Due to the broad ranging dietary needs of people we are going to eat non-processed vegetarian. If you have any special diets/allergies do not hesitate to tell us (we can cater to any specific need). All food will be provided...

We are going to have three semi-structured activity times over the course of the weekend. None of this time will require any specific or special instruments nor musical expertise. The only acoustic requirement is a willingness to fail acoustically.
What then do I need to bring?

Many nights at this time of year are warm enough to not need a tent, but it would be a good idea to be prepared to bring one in case a cold spell comes through. Bring a sleeping bag.

Eating:  Since we will be eating large meals together we ask every person to bring their own favorite bowl, cutlery, drinking cup, and cloth napkin or hand towel.

Each person needs to bring five (5) gallons of water (preferably in a single reusable container). This water will be used for drinking, food preparing, cooking, and washing. Also, please bring your own beverages (beer, etc…).

Weather Protection: We will be outdoors from the time we leave the coffee shop Saturday morning until we leave camp Sunday afternoon. Please bring big hats, strong sunscreen, and we highly advise lightweight, loose fitting, long sleeve shirts and pants. The weekend is designed to take advantage of the natural path of shade provided by the bolders and the open air covered tent similar to one you would see at a farmer’s market, but please anticipate the harshness of living in a desert for two days. Also, please note that night time in the high desert can get cold, so bring something warm just in case.

Registration: The weekend is open to anyone; no musical experience is needed. We anticipate a wide age group from two year olds to seventy year olds. Expect musicians, farmers, doctors, dancers, medics, laborers, writers, bankers, and any other sound camping enthusiasts you know.

Even we get lost driving to the location, so we will need to go in one large caravan. Due to the space limitations for parking we need to limit the cars driven into the site to about a dozen. We hope to pack 4-5 people into each car for the final drive to the site. We are happy to help figure out carpooling from Los Angeles (where we expect at least 50% attending to be coming from) and then to also coordinate carpooling for the caravan from Yucca Valley through Pioneertown and up the dirt roads.

We highly encourage you to email us if you are interested in attending. To allow for word to spread and to add some degree of open access we are going to officially put registration tickets on sale Monday, April 9, 2007 at 8pm. Pre-emailing will NOT garauntee a space, but it will put you on a reminder email list.

Registration will be a two step procedure. After 8pm on April 9 you can send a registration request with your name and the number in your group. At that point we will send you a confirmation email with a link to Paypal where you will make your payment of $25 per person. This registration fee covers the logistics of the weekend’s food. Only after you have successfully registered via Paypal are you officially signed up.

Pleae email if you have any questions and to add yourself to the reminder list.

January 31st, 2007

Turkeytown Biodiesel and Randy Palumbo:

Turkey Town Bio-Diesel (TTBD) provides diesl fuel at cost, to promote alternative fuel in the Morongo Basin.

In 2006, Randy Palumbo opened Turkeytown Biodiesel – the tanking station behind the Art Queen (in Downtown Joshua Tree). The way it works is simple, you join Turkeytown Biodiesel on the honors system. You get a key, pump your own gas, and deposit money in the TT account when you get around to it. The fuel is sold at cost plus a very small markup to help recoup what wound up being over $5,000 in equipment and fabrication costs, and the small overhead of running it.

Biodiesel has significantly less emissions (some say up to 75%) and is made from either restaurant waste oil, virgin legume or other oild (usually soybeans and sometimes poultry fat). Randy Palumbo has been into alternative fuels since the 1970s. As a kid he made weird science projects out of solar cells, and batteries out of potatoes and lemons. He made one out of his little brother, holding copper and zinc strips, but the voltage it generated was pretty slim.

“I tried to start a biodiesel station in NYC for years, and no one will bring the fuel even today, and my friends who do it small scale, get followed by the secret service. A guy I know w
ho has been planning a big thing for years was in the NYT last week (Tri-State Biodiesel), and they have millions of dollars and government approvals, but you cannot buy fuel from them yet for various practical reasons. So I realized I could make a much bigger difference in JT, by cobbling a little pump together. There is also something about the scale in JT that makes things just seem possible and worthwhile like the Turkeytown project.”

How Randy Came to the High Desert so that he could Start The Art Queen and then Turkeytown Biodiesel:

Randy Polumbo is an artist, restaurateur, and founder of 3-D Laboratory in NYC. Three years ago Randy, though a life-altering twist of fate, was awarded the PASTA residency (Park Stewardship Through the Arts) which provides a cabin in Lost Horse Valley in Joshua Tree National Park to a visual artist or writer for 4 weeks in the spring. While sequestered his cabin in the park Randy, always the innovator, taught himself to cast metal and glass for the first time, running tiny equipment off solar power and a small generator and he also mastered the art of tanning chicken leather from expired poultry at Stater Brothers.

Although isolated in the park for days at a time – Randy met an astonishing number of people on his first trip. His encounters included Debora Iyall and Ann Magnuson. Debora introduced him to Don and Gretchen. He met Diane Best buying big buckets of her snap peas at the Rattler and then Jessica from Gram Rabbit when she made sandwiches there. He met Shari Elf (his nowtime girlfriend) in line getting a salad at the Rattler. He made a few more friends at the Beatnik, which is where he camped out every couple of days to catch up on work, and met some crazy hacker kids who hung out at the 29 Palms Radio Shack. Tama Bebb at Old Town Mercantile, helped him find junk glass to melt, and mailed his work and tools back and forth, including a kiln and some pretty big stuff. He met Robin and Linda at Pappy and Harriet’s just after they bought the place, through a friend who lived next to them in Soho less than a year prior when they were still in NYC.

The PASTA project is in the habit of having the same artists back. So Randy did this for two years. His work habit up at Lost Horse became his standard residency plan. “Once I was setup, I hardly slept at all, and worked 16-20 hours a day, except when there was a provision run. I went for a hike or drive/hike every couple of days, but never for more than an hour or two. I got badly lost a few times, and also wanted to get back to the studio. I was immediately enchanted by the bright moonlight, and went for a lot of moonlight walks. It still always gets me how crisp a shadow one can cast in Joshua Tree much of the year."

On his second trip to Joshua Tree Randy bought a place in Burns Canyon. He went to see the land on kind of a lark, but it was so beautiful, he bought it on the spot. “So then I had a project, and I started coming out every couple months to dig holes, grade for shipping containers, wire solar panels together, and I was hooked.” At the same time he was getting to know Shari Elf, an artist who’s background is just about as mysterious as Randy’s.

Randy has always had ideas for solar/composting vintage trailer parks, or ideas for building this or that. And he liked the mint green building compound now known as Art Queen. “I called a broker about some huge expanse of scorched earth in North Joshua Tree last year. He told me about it, and it sounded awful, so I passed. He asked what else I was looking for, and I asked him to let me know if the complex was ever for sale. He said it was not, but he had something similar to email me a setup on. So he sends me the setup, and it is for the complex.” There was some drama and complicated negotiation, but in the end everything worked out. Randy found Chris Veit through Jack Pierson who fixed up the place. Soon Chris Viet had also adopted the Art Queen cause and convinced Randy to give Christine Carraher (Jackadandy) the first show. Last summer Randy’s place in Pipes Canyon burned down so he made a small studio out of an empty studio apartment at the complex, and Shari has one too. Now they work together there very comfortably, which seems like a lot of fun.

“A lot of what I like about the desert aside from the hardscrabble elegance of the landscape and denizens is the creativity and gumption demonstrated by its citizens. I love the weird houses people make out of 3 trailers stuck together, or an old yurt stuck to a bus. While it is not perfect, it is a supportive environment for creative work, and unlike NYC, does not saddle people with spending 80% of their time earning money to pay the rent. The homemade-ness, the relentlessly slow but more humane pace, these are good antidotes to my day job building perfect things for people with very high expectations in the city. The weird folk art, the fact that almost everyone who likes it out there finds something creative to do, the bizarre road culture, the rigs people drive around in, are all inspiring.”

What Does Randy Do in New York when he isn’t in the high desert?

Randy Makes Art. Check it out at :

He has a café called DODO in the South Street Seaport neighborhood. It is at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, right on the water. DODO get all of it’s produce from local organic sources, and artisans and make mostly healthy vegan food. They also have raw food specials, and actual real burgers, though they are organic. Even most of the baked goods are made there. (His sister Rachel bakes the cookies fresh all the time.) They have started to have music and art events there too. You can see more at

3-D Laboratory is Randy’s construction company of 20+ years. They build remarkable and amazing one-of-a-kind places including everything from an art nouveau mansion uptown to stark minimal projects for Richard Gluckman’s office downtown. You can see more at


May 6th and 7th, 2006
(View the publication edited by Lisa Anne Auerbach here.)

More HDTS5 on the Web:

Photos by Arwen

Photos by UuDam

Thom Merrick

Margarita Oasis
(photo by David Dodge)

(photo by David Dodge)

Ranchito Mirage

next to Chris Viet's Cabin

Chuck Moffit and Ingram Ober
(Photo by Laura Ståhlberg)

One Wilshire" by AUDC
(Photo by Laura Ståhlberg)

Good Desert Hats

HDTS HQ -Saturday morning

Tiprin Follet

Jay Lizo

UuDam Nguyen, "Thinking Rock" (with Hannah, Tom, Carolyn, and Ry)

Kristen and Ada at Chuck Moffit and Ingram Ober's Installation.
(photo by Chris James)

FloraWeigmann's Dance Performance at the Salt Flats.
(Photo by Gordon Zittel)

Katie Grinnan's Inverse Parade
(Photo by David Dodge)






October 28th, 2006

Primitivo Suarez and Ginger Wolfe
Location: "Behind the Bail Bonds"
for directions to HDTS click here

High Desert Test Sites is pleased to present our latest solo project, Open To Beyond: Structures without Given Confines, by the Los Angeles based husband-and-wife team Primitivo Suarez and Ginger Wolfe.

Suarez is known for his large formal experiments with building materials which entangle viewers and Wolfe has created a meditative body of work celebrated for her methods of critique and research. The resulting large-scale installations are ‘a series of allegories’ on the emotional, cultural, and academic weight of a given structure.

During the artists’ exploration of the desert, the pair became interested in repositioning two existing structures in order to investigate function, context, and material. The first installation is based on a cabin they studied in Wonder Valley. They rebuilt the cabin on the test site in reverse, or in other words, they gave back what it was without. Doors and windows hover in the open landscape, collapsing ideas of exterior and interior, and of the vulnerability or security they would traditionally imply. The second installation is the frame of a large billboard, which has been reconstructed. Seemingly without purpose, with its orientation altered, the skeleton structure poetically instigates a questioning of material culture

Primitivo Suarez is trained as an architect and an artist. He received his MFA from UCLA in 2000 and has shown his work at Ace Galleries in Los Angeles and New York, Blum & Poe Gallery, The Luckman Gallery of Fine Arts, 1R Gallery, and Barrow & Juarez. In 2002, he was a recipient of the Emilio Sanchez Award for Visual Arts from the Cintas Foundation, which is a grant awarded to Cuban-American artists and refugees. Ginger Wolfe studied at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and at Goldsmiths College in London. She began working as an assistant to conceptual artist Sol LeWitt, and went on to become a Founding Editor of InterReview, which is a journal synonymous with experimentations in conceptual art.

A catalogue of the research surrounding these installations, including documentation from site-visits, texts, and selections from hundreds of photographs is forth-coming from The Press of Image and Theory in 2007.

*The artists wish to thank The Foundation for Contemporary Art for financial support of this project.



June 17th, 2006

Scott Wayne Indiana installed "Geo Chain (crossing boundaries)" at HDTS Site: Behind the Bail Bonds

Scott Wayne Indiana traveled to HDTS country from Portland Oregon to install "Geo Chain" - a project of epic ambition. Scott's goal is a continuum of connected sections of chain which will one day encircle the globe - or at least as far as he can get people to take it in his lifetime (and beyond). The project is a conceptual seed that will grow as more and more people participate in the pilgrimage.

He has outlined the first stage of the "journey" as the California/Arizona border which he thinks is achievable within the next 10 years.

The first section of Geo Chain

If you are making the trip out to the high desert we ask you to get involved! All you have to do is to bring along a section of chain to add to the Geo Chain. Be sure that the there is a way to connect it such as a threaded connector, or a pair of pliers to open and close the links.

Directions to the site

Scott is looking for a local volunteer to help maintain the chain and to help better secure the Geo Chain to it's anchoring post If you are able to get involved email him at

More information on Scott Wayne Indiana can be found at at www.39forks .com



HDTS 4 went down over the weekend of October 23/24th 2004! View the projects here....

Visitors who turned out this weekend for HDTS4 found themselves caught up in a whirlwind of intersecting activities and cultures from dirt bikes to swap meets to cold desert campsites to hot tub hoe downs...

Spelman Downer sent us these images that he took out at the Coyote dry-lake... Thank you Spelman! (click on the image for full size)


Stop the WAL*ing of our desert!

Over the weekend of October 23/24th the site of the proposed Super Wal-Mart (south/east corner of Avalon and Hwy 62) will be the locatin of a special project by the Sytty Group. While you are at the HDTS HQ don't forget to sign the guest book reserved for comments on the Super Wal-Mart development.

You can access a discussion group for community issues by clicking here.

Announcing THE FALLOUT SITE a HDTS project at Rimrock Ranch curated by Martha Otero:

Chris Beas
Mike Bouchet
Steven Kopp
Chris Lipomi
Aaron Garber-Maikovska & Eric Pereira
Gean Moreno
Lisi Raskin
John Espinoza

Don't Forget:
Strange Animal opens at LACE on Friday night 7-9 PM
6522 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles tel 323-957-1777

Countdown to HDTS4! Get out your sunscreen and sunhats and star charts and sweaters. And don't forget to, as always, bring plenty of water.
Last weekend a couple of city slicker artists got stuck in the sand way out at Site 7. Turning tragedy into an educational experience is always advised in this type of situation. Repeated attempts at removing the vehicle from the desert resulted in frustration and environmental degradation. The sun began sinking in the sky. It could have been a long cold night. Then, out of nowhere, the Gas Man came rambling down the dirt road. And he was a hero. Gas Men usually are pretty great and this guy was no exception. A real problem solver. The lesson of the day: if you get stuck in the sand, letting some air out of the tires will help set you free. Just remember to fill them back up once you get back to civilization.

Feral Childe urgently seeks . . . FIVE contestants for our Dingo Derby on the 24th. All contestants receive a Feral Childe Numbered Jersey (for keeps). REGISTER NOW! by emailing us A.S.A.P. at Please include some truthful information about your height and weight and eye color.

FIVE volunteers for our Dingo Derby Dance Corps on the 24th. No experience necessary. We will provide training and benefits. REGISTER NOW! by emailing us A.S.A.P. at Please include some truthful information about your height and weight and eye color.
Hurry, spaces are limited. An opportunity not to be missed.


Call for volunteers:
Bettina Hubby is asking for people willing to wear and wander for a few hours. She’s bringing capes made from men’s suit materials, hotel towels and women’s lingerie and simply asks people to wear them over dark clothing toward and into dusk on Oct. the 23rd. The more people who are seen caped against this serene desert backdrop the more surreal and enjoyable the vision will be. Plus, it’s known to get chilly at night, so they could help ward off the elements. Email her directly if you are willing and able:

Press release:"In response to the exhibition "Superdanish - Newfangled Danish culture" at the Habour Front Centre in Toronto Superflex will present a mural. The mural is a copy of "Iraqi freedom" located in in Twentynine Palms, California USA. The Twentynine Palms mural includes signature images from the US/Iraqi conflict, such as the toppling of the statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad, alongside portraits of American soldiers. In this copy American troops are replaced with Danish military personal and weaponry."

Pruess Press, located in Chinatown LA, will be producing the publication for this years event. The format is going to be that of a newsletter (they regularly publish their own newsletter called the Rambler). For the publication They are soliciting any relevant material - from restaurant reviews, weird desert stories, local lore, tips and advice for the High Desert travelers or even tales of experiences that happened to you during a previous test site events... Email your material to Joel at: (And we guarantee that the newsletter will be more diligently proof read than this web site!)

In connection with HDTS4, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions will present "Strange Animal," an exhibition organized by Giovanni Jance, featuring past and present participants of the High Desert Test Sites. In the experimental and social spirit of HDTS, each participant must somehow interact or intervene in the presentation of another participant.  This manner of working provides a catalyst for people to gather in what amounts to an arbitrary place to discuss each other’s work, in the process of putting it together.  HDTS, then, becomes not as much "place" specific as much as it is "social event" specific.

The Palms, who will once again host for the HDTS Saturday night dinner, have generously invited people to camp out on their land if they need a place to stay that that night. Also, for those of you with a season pass to the desert, check out their music festival on October 1st and 2nd!

HDTS3 was a hit over the weekend. Tons of brave Angelenos donned dust mask and drove through the wildfires that consumed much of the SoCal hillsides between LA and the desert.
In the desert, the air was, as usual, clear and beautiful. Temperatures soared, but art lovers galore made it to the sites on view, taking in the wide range of projects. And everyone made it to the Palms for a wild evening shindig.

HDTS is THIS weekend! See the FLIER!
Pick up your map at The Projects, 7319 Acoma Trail in Yucca Valley on Saturday, October 25.
To get to the Projects from the big city (LA), take the 10 freeway east to Highway 62. Take 62 to Yucca Valley. Turn right on Acoma Trail (look for The Jelly Donut). The Projects is on your left a few storefronts from Hwy 62.
The Projects will be open from 10-6 on Saturday. If you arrive when it's NOT open, there will be a map posted on the window.
Saturday night, we will be back at the Palms in Wonder Valley for food, drink, and videos. If you don't make it anywhere else, do join us there.


What happens to test sites artists who don't clean up after their projects? They pay fifty bucks and go to jail. (We wish!) But fortunately there are other people who bail us out and volunteer to dothe job that no one wants.
Today that job was cleaning up the last remains of the Tiger Pit (from HDTS2) at site 7. Giovanni Jance and Jennifer Nocon both drove out from LA to break wood, pick up cans and bottles and shovel sand in the hot dusty sun - and at the end of the day we all compared blisters to see who had the best battle wounds. Giovanni didn't have any blisters, but he showed us another part of his anatomy which he busted while digging.


DISSOLVE NIGHT is Friday, October 31st at Copper Mountain College. Artists are invited to present slide shows using digital or traditional projection equipment. Come one, come all! For more info, click here...

Only 20 more shopping days until HDTS3! Please be sure to buy plenty of water for your trip to the desert.
It's mighty dry. Also put sunscreen and snacks on your shopping list, as there are no guarantees of anything when you are a stranger in a strange land.

This weekend, we visited Shannon Ebner at the local shooting range, where she was, of course, shooting. Her photographs are part of the next incarnation of HDTS.
No outing to Yucca Valley would be complete without a stop at Desert Christ for a little laughter at the expense of the lord. 9/30/03 We are gearing up for the next event, which will take place on October 25, 2003.

The next installation promises to be a real hum-dinger, with artists coming from miles around to put their mark on the desert, or to let the desert put its mark on them!
If you're coming out to LA for HDTS3 (or if you're here all the time anyhow) also check out Sundown Salon at the Schindler House, put on by HDTS supporter Fritz Haeg.

Thank you everyone for submitting such mind-bending and wonderful proposals for HDTS3! Everyone we heard from will be contacted in the next few weeks and then the fun can begin once again.

The next HDTS event will take place on October
25, 2003. Artists who want to make their projects a part of HDTS3 should send in a proposal by August 1, 2003. Proposals must be submitted as hard copies and should include: a general statement about the work, a bio, and a drawing or visual guide as to what the piece will look like.
HDTS cannot financially support individual artist projects, though HDTS will send out invitations, publish a publication, and provide a venue. The financial and logistical responsibility of realizing projects is entirely on the artist. Artists should be prepared to make several visits to the area over the next few months and to deal with clean up and or maintenance following the Fall event.



R&D Spotlight:
Leo Villareal

On Sunday April 6th 2003, Leo Villareal and Yvonne Force Villareal came out to scout the Test Sites for Leo's upcoming project "The Joshua Tree of Life". While they were out at A-Z West they made a marathon tour of the sites including Noah Purifoy's outdoor sculpture project and George Van Tassel's Integratron.
The Integration is a highly recommended point of interest. The structure was originally built after Mr. Van Tassel was woken up by aliens from the planet Venus in August of 1953. They took him into their saucer and told him how to rejuvenate living cell tissue. Soonafter, he began construction on the Integratron. Two sisters now own the structure and offer tours on the first three weekends of each month. Private tours and Sound Baths are also offered by appointment. For more information, visit their website:

R&D Spotlight:
Christopher James

Brothers Ray and Thomas Husband took Christopher James up in their skyhawk to survey and film Wonder Valley site #6.   
Ray and Thomas have houses next door to each other at the Yucca Valley airport and they both have hangers grafted onto the backs of their houses

They met at 6:30 AM to avoid the windy conditions that were blowing into the valley, the flight was a little choppy, but not so bad considering the storm clouds that were blowing in over the Big Bear Mountains.  By the time that they got back to Yucca Valley however the winds had really picked up making for a somewhat scary landing