California College of the Arts (CCA)
critic: Jason K. JOHNSON
suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
Alex WOODHOUSE & Leah ZALDUMBIDE: Desert Driftbot investigates the prospect of an alternative, event-driven, nomadic society, fleeing the overbearing,cosmopolitan lifestyle of urbanity in favor of a simplified yet profound way of living. Seeking respite from a culture of extreme density, poor air quality, automotive dependence, materialism and ownership, this nomadic civilization has emerged in the barren desertscape of the Salton Sea.
Tasked with providing a new locale for mega-events such as Coachella and Burning Man, a colony of machines autonomously roams the desert while mapping the civilization’s migratory patterns, driven strictly by features of the landscape. Each drone works tirelessly, creating clusters of living from locally extracted resources as it traverses the desert terrain. The scalar magnitude of these aggregations and the machines that produce them is as monumental as the ambitious process that resulted in the formation and failure of the Salton Sea—itself a product of human ingenuity and catastrophe. Only over considerable durations in time can the significance of the machine’s acts on the landscape and the nomadic population be fully realized.
sP: What or who influenced this project?
AW & LZ: Haus-Rucker-Co, Archigram, Mark Pauline/Survival Research Lab, Burning Man.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
AW & LZ: Mad Max, Dune, Bladerunner, Magnus Larsson.
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
AW & LZ: Philip Beesley, Rael San Fratello, Kokuggia, Theo Jansen.