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The morning conversation suddenly took a turn towards form and function. As Lance hazily described Adolf Loos connection to the Bauhaus, Garth offered, “I like froo froo“.

to the desert

Left L.A. this morning at 8 am, arrived in the desert and ran into Garth at the entrance to Gamma Gulch. He was waiting the arrival of the cement mixer, and said a “crew” is up top and waiting. This provokes interest as we’ve been promised a plaster crew from the valley for the past four Mondays. Nicodemous is at Randy’s again, helping out in exchange for the medium-size Zip Lock bags of mexi-haze shake. A blend of Randy’s. New crew members today including Josiah’s friend Ezra, an earnest man from Portland, tall with short curly hair. The french couple, Kilo and Emmanuel are back from a three month trip to Mexico. They are impeccably dressed and ready to help lay cement. Radically neutral. Josiah, Don, and Zael, are in attendance and trying to dig up scrap metal to unclog the bubbler. The cement mixer finally arrives, just in time as everyone is stoned out of their morning gourd. We lay a scrap layer of cement down on the rest of the exposed roof. Good days work in 4 hours. Garth makes a potato salad for lunch. We take him up to our site and talk about leveling grades, and shoot some video for the Kickstater to raise money for the water pump. We head into town to send emails and work for an hour or two at Crossroads. When we return to camp, Nic is back from Randy’s, and hot to catch the bus to Los Algodones, Mexico to get an absess in one of his molars fixed. Fortunately, we had word from Garth and had well researched the venture. The town of Algodones is 3.5 hours by bus, which leaves from palm springs at 2am. If Nic can catch that bus he can arrive there by 5am and hopefully be seen the same day. Easy plan.

Palm springs is an hour south of Yucca. We talk to Nic about the rocket stoves ups and downs, and a smaller alternative the pocket stove and the importance of the size of the gap of  the third chamber in the stove. Palm springs train station is completely empty, not too many people taking the bus from Palm Springs to Mexicali at 2am on a Tuesday. A cop stops by and reassures us the bus is on the way. Not too worry. 15 after 2 he informs us the bus dosent usually stop here, it stops at the gas station down the street. Would have been nice to know. So we chase the bus a half hour south to Indio CA, to arrive again at an empty station, except for one traveler with all of his belongings removed from his luggage and categorized individually by some incredible logic. We drop Nic off at a motel down the street, we opt out swimming in the pool, and head back to Yucca where Neil, Spirit,and I, to avoid ground critters, all crash in the dome on Nic’s bed.

Garth wakes us up at 7am to talk about the roof engineering. Plan sounds good to us. Not enough support from the inside. The exterior  scratch coat is flexing and cracking. The mysterious and all powerful plaster crew has again cancelled. So just the desert drifters today to lay another coat on the exterior.

On the ride home to L.A. we listen to a talk about the early writings of Walter Benjamin. Lots of interest in the car. Turns out Ezra is really interested in nostaliga, and had a defining moment in his life a few years ago in Chicago. As his notion of life was collapsing around him, he came upon a song from Final Fantasy VII, which he played as a child, and began to weep. He spent the next few years running an Internet research group about plausible relationships between archetypes from the tarot and music composition. I think he said it failed, but it’s still online, or maybe he just fell out of interest.

Our project is a five year, multi-phased, experimental design studio that integrates living and working, exploring new models of design practice. Each year, the studio will inhabit a different location with changing geographic and material conditions, and the work produced will respond to these changing contexts. Projects will be disseminated through a publication series, website, and exhibitions.The practice will operate under a different name and a different set of parameters each year. The name adopted each year also describes the work created. The years and studio names in order are: Connections, Encounters, Impressions, Recursions, and Reflections.

The first year is called Connections, and is conceived as a radical beginning. We plan to move to Joshua Tree, California and build a studio practice from scratch, using available materials and craft to re-connect with the natural world and engage the local community in a series of workshops and interventions.

During the second year, Encounters, the studio becomes nomadic. Travel by foot, bicycle, bus, hitch-hiking, and RV, are peculiar ways to encounter places and people and create a fabric of relationships. Engaging with various communities on the move, the work produced will embrace chance, narrative, and mobility.

The studio broadens and deepens this nomadic methodology in the third year, Impressions, operating in 4 countries for a period of 3 months each. By engaging with communities outside of our own cultural contexts, the resulting work will necessarily incorporate local vernaculars, national differences, and outside collaborations.

In the fourth year, Recursions, we will partner with a larger, established design firm, operating as an agency-within-an-agency. Investigating issues of scale, management, and what it means to be an “agent” within an existing organizational structure, the work produced will respond to the concrete needs of the larger company and offer unsolicited proposals and scenarios that challenge typical ways of working.

The final year, Reflections, will archive and disseminate the work produced during the first four years. A publication and website will be completed documenting the entire practice for the larger art, design, and cultural communities.