Project Descriptions:


Pentti Monkkonen "Beach House #3"
Beach House #3 is a geodesic egg shape with five wooden legs. Pentti will perform a cockroach performance at the Palms, and his
commemorative tshirts and roach medallions will be for sale at Amy Yao's art swapmeet.

Feral Childe (Alice Wu + Moriah Carlson) "Dingo Derby"
Feral Childe presents Dingo Derby, a confectionery caucus race. Participants jockey and joust for the lead with effigies clad in Baby Dingo. From the inner ring, the Kung Fu Shek Dance-Pak cheers them on.  Feral Childe is no mere spectator sport: rabid fans and casual passersby alike are welcome to join in the fray. Prepare to get dusty. 

Stephanie Smith/Eco ShackEcoshack
(with Strawn/Sierralta(2) and Mark Soden/SCOW) "Green Tent Competition"
Ecoshack ( is a green design laboratory that recently sponsored an international competition to design an environmentally sustainable camping shelter - a "green" tent ( - for use in the Mojave Desert in and around Joshua Tree National Park. 30 entries (drawings, models, boards) will be installed in Ecoshack's homesteader cabin. Ecoshack will also be prototyping the first of three winning tents the weekend of Oct 23 - 24. HDTS visitors are encouraged to visit our site and participate.

Eames Demetrios
"The Krblin Jihn Cabin"
The Krblin Jihn Cabin is the first official Kymaerica historical site. It was originally used to house defeated heretics. Jihn Wranglicans (a sect of Church of the California Christ) had their lives spared, but only on condition of a form of sectarian house arrest, where they could never leave their cabin and surrounding grounds. In his isolation, Krblin (an honorific similar to “Brother”) Jihn himself became an important Biblical translator and commentator. Site includes the remnants of its remarkable nine point compass wheel. More background and lore about Kymaerica are found at

The Cake Society "desserts in the desert"
"the cake society presents an installation of all things cake. Experience the stuffy english formality of afternoon tea in the surreal location of the desert. We invite you to join us for strangely polite conversation, pots of tea and plenty of cake : bring manners and sunblock.
In conjunction with this experiment, the cake society will present '100 cakes see art' and other cake propaganda at the strange animal exhibition opening at LACE.

John Brinton Hogan "Portraits of the Missing"

Part of a long-term project examining the nature of identity and human recognition through the use of “missing” posters placed in remote locations throughout the American Southwest. This specific body of work stems from an attempt to re-contextualize the traditional notion of portraiture by replacing the sitters with facsimiles, then positioning (and re-photographing) those facsimiles in landscape settings which, in theory, would not normally associated with a thriving human presence.

Chris James "Interpretive Taxonomy for the California Oriente in the
Vicinity of Joshua Tree"

This is a fold out brochure available to HDTS visitors over the weekend of the event. For your own copy of the original brochure email Chris here.

Mungo Thomson "Black Chime"
Black Chime will provide metaphysical atmosphere for the event.

Ted Quinn
'peacenik at the beatnik' streaming 'live' from the beatnik cafe, joshua tree, will be dedicated to high desert test site on friday, october 22. 9pm - 12 midnight PST at anyone interested in sending cd's for possible inclusion in the webcast is welcome: ted quinn, po box 912, joshua tree,ca 92252 ( or call toll free (866) 374-4236 or at the rancho(760)366-3498.

Thom Merrick "Surprise, Terror, Superstition, Silence, Melancholy, Power, Strength"
This work is seen with an interpretive map and website of Wonder Valley. Highlighted on the map is a twisted, jagged rock formation that I see daily on the way to my studio. The shape of the mountain looks like a beast, a dinosaur, or a great lizard. The rock stands as a reminder that creativity, a natural resource, and raw material, is best served by rude rock and the horrid graces of wilderness itself. "Where do these images come from that haunt the mind?" Do they burn in from nature, contrasting the sun, or drain away, outward to the land from social conditioning, or further back, our heritage. "And if this seems unintelligible, think of petrified dinosaurs, vast, frightening, prehistoric, but somehow ancestrally connected to our world."

Roxanne Bartlett "50'x50'"
A 50'x50' space maintained as a garden, for 8 days culminating in the weekend of the HDTS4 event. Part of the inspiration for this proposal is that I did not want to import any actual objects or materials into the desert landscape and yet still leave the mark of methodical action. A garden is necessarily the execution of aesthetic decisions in the landscape. The space will be marked by a subtle but certainly domesticated appearance.

Andreas Reiter Raabe "Natural Monochrome"
A set of silkscreen prints in the color monochrome heritage green with the announcement: "natural monochrome joshua tree CA 92252". The prints, the size ofa real estate sign, are stuck in the ground around Joshua Tree, Palm Springs and Yacca Valley. The project is of course related to painting and to every day life. 100% natural as a fantasy. Green - usualy the first association with nature, is the only colour that can`t be extracted from nature. Green as a fantasy in the desert, announcing a monochrome a oasis that doesn`t exist. Painting as an idea and as an extension.

Marie Lorenz "The History of the Last 5 Minutes"
I will be recording my experience of the HDTS weekend in the form of small comic books. The books will be left at a desk outside, where participants can read about events as they unfold. I plan on visiting the sites of my previous HDTS projects, chronicling their absorption into the environment, and describing my encounter with the High Desert.

Shannon Ebner "Water & Chemo"
For HDTS4, Shannon Ebner has generated a second newsprint edition from her ongoing photographic series Dead Democracy Letters titled Water & Chemo. Ebner will be distributing the edition at the HDTS Headquarters and as part of HDTS4’s satellite show Strange Animal at LACE in Los Angeles. The piece is a diptych -One of the images was photographed on the salt flats outside Joshua Tree last spring. The other image was taken in Los Angeles.

Skylar Haskard and Joel Kyack "Lost Desert Stage"
In the spirit of unresolved, excessive process, the Lost Desert Stage will provide a 24-hour constructed environment where matter is made, unmade, and remade. Constant activity will incorporate exaggerated practical and absurd methods of desert survival to create a new and continuously evolving code of subsistence. The Moisture Tent, Dew Field, Mirage Stations, Foliage Liquid Extraction System, Pulping Den, Giant Solar Still(s), Generator Tower, and the Dessert Kitchen will serve as co-dependent elements of an elaborately efficient system of production and consumption. All matter made during the HDTS days will be promoted by sale or trade and the needs and desires of the public weaken chances of efficient survival or support a more excessive existence.

Cristian Alexa
"Lost", October 22, 2004
I drove from LAX to Yucca Valley. I got lost somewhere in the Mojave Desert driving without a map and following the most desolated dirt roads that I came upon. I slept in my car and had a dream.
"Target", October 23, 2004
I picked up a bunch of shopping bags from a Target store. I went to Andy?s Gamma Gulch Site in Yucca Valley and wrapped up a Joshua Tree in Target bags. The target tree stayed there for the duration of HDTS 4.
"Home", October 23, 2004
While driving from high to the low desert between Yucca Valley and Wonder Valley I noticed a lot of abandoned houses and cars along the road. I stopped to take a closer look at these modern ruins. One of them was of particular interest to me. I placed my video camera on a tripod at a significant distance from the house and let it roll. I climbed on the skeleton of a roof and crawled in all direction like an ant in an ant hill.
"Always", October 24, 2004
I went to see a performance at Coyote Dry Lake. While waiting for the performers to begin their act, I took a couple of water bottles from my car and wrote the word Always on the ground. Always remained visible for about 30 seconds before vanishing in the dry land.
"Swing Station", October 24, 2004
While driving on the Iron Age Road toward Site # 13 I was listening to a swing station on the radio. I stopped the car, opened all doors, turned up the volume, and started dancing in front of my video camera slowly fading away into the horizon.

Justin Beal "wood tower (gets the job done)"
wood tower. good and sturdy. new paint job. original hardware. gets the job done. some assembly required (power tools). one of a kind. radio w/ hand crank/solar + bottle opener. sandbags not included. water use is an issue. serious offers only please. you haul. best view on 62.

Kathleen Johnson and Linda Taalman "Grotto"
The Grotto is an ongoing design experiment at a large rock outcropping at Site 2 that we are imagining as a stylized grotto, an oasis capable of harboring mysterious artesian sources. The related shelter is made of ephemeral materials, ones that could offer little protection from the sun, heat, wind or rain of the desert. Rather than provide any practical respite from the elements, the shelter becomes a three dimensional sketch in the landscape, offering an interpretive framework for the existing topography.

Jim Skuldt "Road Sign, Air Pocket"
Implanted along an isolated stretch of highway, "Road Sign, Air Pocket" acts as a rupture in normal sensory consumption in the form of a discrete transmitted bubble. This interference pokes at redundant, forgotten fixtures by a reverse-engineering of standard aesthetics. A related piece "40 Hits, Converging upon an Air Pocket" is showing concurrently at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions. This work was made possible through the generosity of the Art School Visiting Committee of CalArts.

Karen Lofgren
"Party of One"
is a self-powered nighttime desert rave unit for just one person.
is a glowing sculpture for night wanderers.

AUDC, "Site : Nonsite : Quartzsite,"
Quartzsite, Arizona is a town of 5,000 residents in the summer, located 180 miles from this site. Every winter Quartzsite swells with an influx of snowbirds, campers from across North America, generally escaping the cold northern climate in search of sunshine, the solitude of the desert, and the company of like-minded individuals. Up to 1.5 million inhabitants settle in town every winter, bringing their lodgings with them in the form of recreational vehicles or RVs. At any one time in January and February, hundreds of thousands of residents make this remote desert town into a substantial urban center. AUDC’s installation reproduces Quartzsite through an interpretive display. Visit to view the installation's web component.
The AUDC project team on "Site : Nonsite : Quartzsite" is composed of Steve Rowell, Robert Sumrell, and Kazys Varnelis. AUDC's goal is to investigate the contemporary city using the tools of the architect, the historian, and the designer. AUDC blurs traditional divisions between media by working simultaneously in print, web, video, photography, drawings, models, dioramas, and installations while addressing the particularities of each medium. Likewise, AUDC breaks down the boundaries between theory and practice by uniting both scholarship and design research.

David Dodge "Dust Farming"
A dust sculpture lofted airbourne by spinning tires. Marking the land and for a moment marking the sky. Dust to dust. Dust bowl. A car on a dry lakebed starts from a stop and begins to spin wildly. The resulting dust twister completely envelopes the car. The performance continues for several minutes after which time the car exits the dust cloud in the opposite direction that it entered. Dust farming.

Tracy Lea Hensley "Anthropomorphic Pictograph"
The work consists of a blown charcoal outline of the artist?s entire body on a mammoth rock face. The work is a negotiation of the human form in nature. It is a continuation from the past of human pictographic representations and a reacquisition of these terms today to create a new myth and connection to the natural landscape.

Jonas Hauptman "AZ Wagon Station Rekit Project"
"ReKit", Jonas Hauptman’s reinterpretation and modification of one of Andrea Zittel’s A-Z Wagon Station (WS) will debut this month at HDTS. Elaborating on the original, reKit is expressed as a transportable, post-apocalyptic dwelling inspired by Mad Max, Thoreau’s Walden, and a fascination with compactable carnival ride construction. Honoring Zittel's initial intentions each of the original components performs the same function in the new design, though its location in space has been pushed outward. The new design expresses itself diagrammatically as an exploded axonometric of the original, with new fabrications linking the original set of parts. Ultimately the reKit collaboration yields a “super sizing” of the original WS this offers the opportunity for more complex functionality and a lot more living space.

Rainer Ganahl "naft - oil"
Rainer's contribution was the 'vandalization' of a bill board for a local Ford dealership:He simply applied a green venyl letter sign with the Arabic word "Naft" = OIL

Jasmine Little“Desert Faux Pas”
As a resident of the high desert for the last six years Jasmine has come to know the desert well, and now regards it as an ordinary place like any other.  Through conversations with people less familiar with the area she has come across the common misconception that only extraordinarily bizarre events happen in this environment.  For the HDTS Jasmine has constructed characters out of recycled trash to represent people interacting in a social setting in a residential backyard here in the desert.  This project will try to convey a completely ordinary event that takes place here, but is commonplace everywhere, in an attempt to demystify this environment.

Chuck Moffit and Ingram Ober "Sightplan"
"Sightplan" will consist of a twelve foot tall obsevation deck at the apex of a seminomatic tent structure which will explore concepts of sububan desert expansion.

Bettina Hubby “Wearer-Wanderers”
You may want to rub your eyes and make sure you’re not hallucinating but keepthem open to spot wearer-wanderers at dusk in Bettina’s black and white sculptural capes made from men’s suits and women’s lingerie. The desert is the perfect backdrop for a surreal dress code--think Mad Max meets Groucho Marx meets Madonna’s underwear drawer.

Alex Slade, "Blind As A Bat Version 1 – Pallid Bat Antrozous pallidus:Possible Trajectory"
The Blind As A Bat sculptures trace possible trajectories of bats and model their use of sound waves for echo location. Version 1 – Pallid Bat Antrozous pallidu finds it’s source in the typical home of the Pallid Bat in crevices between large boulders. A set of large boulders has such a crevice and inspired the sculpture. Pallid Bats usually leave their cave late at night and fly for several hours while foraging for their prey of scorpions, crickets, and other insects. I took just the initial segment of the night’s feeding journey and projected what would be a logical trajectory towards and down the wash. The yellow tubing represents the flight trajectory with the red lines representing the ray tracing of sound waves caused by the bat’s high pitched chirping. Two points along this one trajectory are modeled for sound. Given the formlessness of the desert, the trajectory of an animal that locates its position in the world and that of its prey without the use of sight seemed appropriate.

Lisa Anne Auerbach

Fabienne Lasserre and Christy Gast
Amy Yao (Art Swap meet)
Noah Purifoy Foundation
Kristen Botshekan

Justin Samson and Muffy Brandt
Christy Gast
Eddie Ruscha

Collaborating Venues:

Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions
In the group exhibition at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions "Strange Animal," past and present participants of the High Desert Test Sites, an independent open-format art event hosted annually in Joshua Tree, CA, have agreed to work within the confines of a specific gallery space in which a single parameter is set. 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.  The expectation is that participants will inevitably end up helping each other, discussing and sometimes altering their projects.  Therefore what is proposed, versus what is manifested, may not always equate.  HDTS, then, becomes not as much "place" specific as much as it is "social event" specific.
One can think of HDTS as a kind of computer with a variety of interfaces which people can plug into, play their media, unplug, and depart.  Sometimes the media are interactive, sometimes not.  Sometimes the computer works, sometimes it does not. With this in mind, twelve emerging, Los Angeles-based artists have been invited to participate in "Strange Animal," the LA satellite of HDTS: Justin Beal, Jedediah Caesar, the cake society, Kate Costello, Shannon Ebner, Fabienne Lasserre and Christy Gast, Marie Lorenz, Matt Lorenz, Jennifer Nocon, Jim Skuldt, and Dick Slessig.  "Strange Animal" is organized by Los Angeles-based artist Giovanni Jance.

back to list of artists




Thom Merrick

Justin Samson

Andreas Reiter Raabe previews "Natural Monochrome" in Palm Springs

Marie Lorenz and Garth

Eames Demetrios sandblasting on the "Krblin Jihn Cabin"

Jonas Hauptman's radically cust-omized "A-Z Wagon Station" in progress

Shannon Ebner's Chemo in studio

Kathleen Johnson and Linda Taalman in "Grotto"

Karen Lofgren's "Believer"

John Brinton Hogan

Alice and Moriah of Feral Childe and the dingo candy mold

Cristian Alexa practices "Today" in his hometown NYC

Justin Beal prefabbing "wood tower (gets the job done)" in the LACE space...