Carmen Argote: A Vast Furniture - Opening Program
preparing for the weekend
saturday, may 23, 2015
Please join us for a tour, potluck, and overnight campout to welcome A Vast Furniture, an installation by Carmen Argote, to Wonder Valley!  Feast and sleep under the stars in the “Schindler House,” transposed to a remote destination in the Mojave Desert community of Wonder Valley.
Saturday, May 23, 2015
Beginning at 6:00 pm, with a guided tour at 7:00 pm
Iron Age Road, Wonder Valley
If you are planning on attending the A Vast Furniture opening program, please read this important information before you hit the road:
  • Arrive at the site before dark.  This event is taking place at High Desert Test Sites' most remote parcel, Iron Age Road in Wonder Valley (allow about 45 minutes to get from downtown Joshua Tree to the site.)  
  • Print out or write down driving directions before you hit the road.  Mobile GPS devices can be unreliable.  Directions: From Twentynine Palms continue east on 29 Palms Hwy. Drive forever (23 miles) and look for the sign for Ironage Road. Turn left onto the dirt road right after the sign for Ironage. Drive a few more miles until you see something. Park at the side of the road - be sure to leave enough room for cars to pass!  (Check out Kim Stringfellow's audio tour of Jackrabbit Homesteads on your drive out to the site.)
  • Dress in layers.  Although the forecast predicts highs in the low/mid 80s, winds can pick up and temperatures can dip at night.  (The temperature in Wonder Valley is usually a few degrees warmer than Joshua Tree.)
  • Pack lots of food to share.  Saturday’s dinner will be a communal potluck, which means bring something to share for at least 4-6 persons (email us if you need suggestions– hearty salads, a pot of chili, and simple things you can eat with your hands always work well!)  Don't forget your favorite camping chair, picnic blankets, camping stove, plate/bowl/utensils for yourself.  We will have some tables and light refreshments on hand, but the rest is up to you!  (There are few services in Wonder Valley - the closest is The Palms Restaurant & Saloon (they cook up great homemade burgers and our favorite Sunday Breakfast–but call ahead to inquire about hours and food service, as sometimes they run out on busy weekends!)
  • No open fires.  We will have one central, contained campfire going–extra firewood is welcome!  
  • Fill up on fuel, water, food, and supplies before leaving Twentynine Palms.  There are no gas stations or convenience stores once you leave Twentynine Palms.  
  • Be smart.  Leave no trace.  Be respectful.  Be prepared.  Be aware of your surroundings.  And don’t hesitate to jump in and help out if you see someone who needs a hand.
  • Things you will probably want to bring: lots of food, water, a sleeping bag/tent if you are camping, a flashlight, a hat, sunscreen, trash bags for your refuse, sturdy shoes, camping chairs, picnic blankets, an ice chest, plates/bowls/utensils, driving directions, a map, firewood to share, and be sure to fill up on gas!

Learn more about A Vast Furniture: Installation by Carmen Argote.

A Vast Furniture is presented by the MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House and High Desert Test Sites, and is organized by Anthony Carfello, Adam Peña, and Aurora Tang.


Kip's Desert Book Club
She's Got a Gun - Nancy Floyd
june 1, 2015


When I found out that photographer and author Nancy Floyd was going to be visiting Joshua Tree, I jumped at the chance to get her to visit our June 1st book club meeting with her book She's Got a Gun, about the history of women and firearms in America. Be sure to bring your most hair raising local stories involving guns–this discussion should be quite lively!  Nancy has been visiting Joshua Tree and Death Valley every year and can also fill us in on her latest desert based work.

We will be meeting on the patio of Steve and Mary Helen Tuttle's dome house in North Joshua Tree, so bring a folding chair if you have one. From downtown Joshua Tree, turn north on Sunburst, right on Golden, left on Border, keep your eyes out for Pole and Del Oro signs and turn right on Winters, with the street sign on the left hand side of the road and the large "Book Club" sign on your right. Drive 2 miles and turn right on Sunever. The dome is on the corner.  (I'll mark it with a sign so you can't miss it.) There is limited parking inside the fence, so do your best to park outside the compound–we'll squeeze you all in.

Monday, June 1, 2015, 7 PM
The Tuttle Residence
North Joshua Tree, CA (see driving directions above)

This is the ninth meeting of Kip's Desert Book Club Learn more about this monthly gathering.

Protocol X
Lior Shvil
may 9–10, 2015


Lior Shvil’s work reveals common themes of psychological and political subversions implemented through political policies handed down to soldiers as written and spoken protocols.

For Protocol X, a new project presented by High Desert Test Sites, Shvil will create a political theater for a civilian audience by recreating a specific selection of army training protocols that will be carried out by a group of 24 inexperienced participants, engaged in a simulated counterinsurgency exercise, as they assume dual roles as spectators and actors–both witnessing and creating dramatic meaning.  

The protocols that will comprise the “script” for the performance function as a set of directives, guides, and “how-tos” that present different scenarios a soldier may face, along with the “correct” response to each situation. They are typically carried out in highly rendered locations (which Shvil considers to be “theaters”) that have been built to recreate locations that a particular military plans to engage.

The theatrical structure of the set and performance will both highlight the artifice of the situation and challenge traditional conventions of theater and performance by creating “exercises” based on a series of rules, without the larger expectations of an end "result."

Saturday, May 9, 2015, 3–7 pm
Sunday, May 10, 2015, 3–7 pm
Iron Age Road, Wonder Valley


This project is supported in part by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and Artis.

A Vast Furniture
Carmen Argote
two-part installation at the schindler house and iron age road


Part one: Installation at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House in West Hollywood
April 17 – May 17, 2015

Part two: Installation at High Desert Test Sites in Wonder Valley
May 23 – June 20, 2015

High Desert Test Sites and the MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House present A Vast Furniture, an installation by Carmen Argote.  With one sculpture and two sites, Los Angeles-based artist Carmen Argote uses the floor plan of the Schindler House as an inspiration and guide to literalize the understanding of architectural space as delineated and distinguished from non-architected space.

Part one, at the Schindler House in West Hollywood, features a 1:1 sculptural tracing of the footprint of the house’s indoor and outdoor rooms. Argote materializes the simple line-drawing action that gave shape to the house’s determining features back in 1921, when fresh memories of time in Yosemite National Park led the architect to produce what he conceived of as a permanent campsite. In the waning days of pastureland surrounding Kings Road, the Schindlers staked claim to both a plot and a lifestyle, with every gesture after the floor plan further rooting their bohemian ideals to a 100 by 200 foot lot as the city grew around them.

Public programming during Part one refers to these early decisions by the Schindlers, and will explore the relationship between camping and setting up home, review the construction of one landscape that followed the loss of a first, and situate the house alongside other radical attempts at homeownership in Southern California.

For Part two, Argote’s sculpture will be separated from its defining walls and precisely reconstructed in an open landscape in the Mojave Desert, at the HDTS Iron Age Road Parcel in Wonder Valley. Here, Argote theoretically realizes an off-the-cuff proposal made by Schindler protégé Gregory Ain at an early Schindler House preservation meeting: considering the monumental costs of restoration and accounting for how West Hollywood had so radically changed since construction, Ain suggested to put the Kings Road property on the market, let it meet its inevitable fate, and use the profits to rebuild the house exactly to original specifications elsewhere, as an architecture study center: “Why don’t you do what Schindler did, just go out in the desert and build one? It doesn’t belong on a tree-lined, apartment-house neighborhood. It was built to be in the desert.”*

In Wonder Valley, the traced line-as-object will carry the influence and sociocultural imprint of the house. Within the outlined perimeter of vast horizons, the architecture of both spaces will be simultaneously activated. Visitors will be able to take up residence in the ghost image of the Schindler House as the sculpture will function both to define a campsite and host conversation around home ownership, cycles of prospecting throughout the region’s history, and the meaning of the outskirts to a city like Los Angeles.

*Bernard Judge as quoted in Anthony Denzer’s Gregory Ain: The Modern Home as Social Commentary (Rizzoli, 2008).

Volunteers Wanted!
participate in a new project by lior shvil


Protocol X, a new project by Lior Shvil, is coming to Iron Age Road in Wonder Valley May 9-10, 2015! The project, which is informed by military training exercises and infrastructure, such as those at 29 Palms Marine Base, is the culmination of over two years of research, planning, writing, and brainstorming - and we’re almost there, but need a little bit of extra help!

There are two ways you can help:

1. Volunteer to be a participant in the performance, May 9-11, 2015, or assist with installing the project in the desert for any combination of days between April 27-May 13, 2015. Email us at to get involved. (We are able to provide accommodations for a limited number of out-of-town volunteers at the A-Z West Encampment.)

2. Contribute to Lior’s Hatchfund fundraising page and help us raise the final $5000 needed for the project. Plus, there are some great incentives for donating, like a limited edition print or a custom jumpsuit from the performance.

Thanks very much for your support! You can learn more about Lior’s project with HDTS here.