Monday, December 20, 2010

Vanished City: Desert Center

My son made this film for his senior year at ASU. His themes in art are all about memories and abandoned places and the blight on old boomtowns. This was taken at Desert Center in California and he used some interesting techniques to get the look. He wanted to do it with his 8mm camera but developing would take too long, so he found out something you often find in art, if you run into a roadblock it can take you to wonderful places. He filmed, edited, and made the sounds for the video. The idea is sort of an old home movie feel of visiting what was supposed to be a huge boomtown and visiting it like a tourist even though it's all dead. It's very haunting and at times I wish I could put my eye to the eyepiece and see it all, but that's part of the charm--it leaves you feeling like you had a strange dream...

p.s. He's always fantastic at naming projects. He looked it up and during the dustbowl era, they planted a plant call the tamarisk because it held up to the dustbowl, but it eventually took over like kudzu does in the south. I thought it was a great name

In Julie and I's series of abandoned books, the next will be vanished cities. I just did a post about Salton Sea where we want to go and this location, Desert Center, is our other choice for the book.

The place has such a whacked-out history, you should just read it here.


  1. I am looking forward to visiting entire ghost towns and taking pictures of all the abandoned places in each town.

  2. My hands itch to read these places. There's something about human contact being gone for so long that intrigues me.

  3. Great pics. I can't wait to see your book.

  4. Oh I love that truck! Forgotten places slowly vanishing as earth and weather fade them into the distance. I enjoyed this post immensely.

  5. The white noise effect your son used in the background was killer. Very haunting. I have said this before, but it blows me away that people abandon things in the desert as if running away from an apocalyptic nightmare. Why is that?

  6. Thanks Jessica. I can't wait either.

    Major.Mack; Thanks.

    Glad you liked it. That stuff if just beautiful.

    I live in a fucking desert and every day I want to run from it like an apocalyptic nightmare, so I get it. hee hee. Truly, a lot of the towns are based on mining industries that come and go.

  7. But it appears they leave assets behind. I still don't get it. Running away from what the bank owns, I guess.