deserts

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Photography

Swirling Star Trails Captured Over the Namib Desert by Daniel Kordan

May 8, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Russian photographer Daniel Kordan is a master of photographing the cosmos. In 2016 we covered his journey to the Salar de Uyuni, where he captured millions of brilliantly hued stars reflected in the world’s largest salt flat. Recently, Kordan returned from a trip to Namibia where he mapped swirling trails of stars above the Deadvlei, a white clay pan speckled with the 900-year-old tree skeletons, and other sites across the Namib desert.

The images feature vortexes of multi-colored stars streaked across the sky like post-impressionist paintings. The Milky Way’s warm and cool tones intermix to create a kaleidoscopic vision of the sky above, and illuminate the barren desert landscape below. To capture such images yourself, Kordan suggests creating a time-lapse with a wide angle lens, and utilizing an app like PhotoPills which allows you to easily predict the position of the stars.

You can see more of Kordan’s exploration through Namibia in the images below, and view his photographs from other locations across the globe on his website and Instagram.

 

 



Art

Billboards That Advertise the Surrounding California Landscape by Jennifer Bolande

March 3, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

All photos by Lance Gerber / courtesy of the artist and Desert X

Jennifer Bolande‘s work Visible Distance / Second Sight, is not one that you stop your car at and observe, in fact, its not one that even requires slowing to admire. The several billboard installation stretches alongside the Gene Autry Trail and Vista Chino in California, bordering the roads with scenic images of the same mountains that peak out behind each piece. In some instances the images match perfectly with the surrounding range, creating an alignment of fabricated reality while one zooms past the display.

Similar to artist Brian Kane‘s billboard displays of forests and galaxies in Massachusetts in the summer of 2015, Bolande’s work calls attention to nature in a ceaseless vacuum of pushy advertising. By placing images of the environment beside the roadway Bolande hopes to point passersby back to the landscape itself.

The piece is part of the exhibition Desert X which also features Doug Aitken’s mirror-covered house. The exhibition runs through April 30, 2017, and you can see a full schedule of tours and events on their website. (via Designboom)

 

 



Art

Mirage: A Suburban American House Retrofitted with Mirrors Reflects the Mountainous California Desert

February 28, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Desert X installation view of Doug Aitken, MIRAGE. 2017. All photos by Lance Gerber unless otherwise noted. Courtesy the artist and Desert X.

Perched at the juncture where the San Jacinto mountains open into the Coachella valley in California, artist Doug Aitken has erected a ranch-style suburban home covered entirely in mirrors. Titled Mirage, the house appears like an inverted kaleidoscope, reflecting everything from the sky above to the surrounding mountainous desert, not to mention visitors themselves. The structure was created as part of Desert X, an outdoor art exhibition comprised of pieces by over 15 artists that remains on view through April 30, 2017. Mirage will remain up a bit longer through October 31, but has somewhat irregular hours so be sure to check the schedule before visiting.

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Art

Seven 30-Foot-Tall Dayglow Totems Placed in the Desert by Ugo Rondinone

May 13, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

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All images Ugo Rondinone: Seven Magic Mountains, Las Vegas, Nevada, 2016. Photos by Gianfranco Gorgoni. Courtesy of Art Production Fund and Nevada Museum of Art.

Situated just south of Las Vegas in the middle of the desert stands seven stacks of brightly colored boulders— forms which appear to be in a line or cluster depending on how you view their arrangement. From one side the structures line up neatly in a row, while from the other they seem to be positioned in one giant mass. The cairn-like towers are Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone‘s “Seven Magic Mountains” and stand between 30 and 35 feet tall. Each contains between three and six human-sized masses which are all locally-sourced limestone painted an assortment of dayglow hues.

The stacked forms are intended to appear both stable and on the edge of collapse, similar to their duality of being both nature made and artificial. “Seven Magic Mountains is an artwork of thresholds and crossings, of seclusion and gathering, of balanced marvels and excessive colors, and the contrary air between the desert and the city lights,” states Rondinone. “Seven Magic Mountains elicits continuities and solidarities between the artificial and the natural, between human and nature.”

The site specific work was produced by Art Production Fund, New York and the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno. The monumental piece of land art will be on view for two years beginning in May of 2016. (via Juxtapoz)

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Art

50,000 Solar Powered Bulbs Illuminate the Australian Desert in Bruce Munro’s Field of Light Installation

March 31, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

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All images courtesy of Bruce Munro

Over 50,000 bulbs light up an expanse of Australia’s Red Centre desert near Ayers Rock in an installation about the size of four football fields. The solar powered work, Field of Light Uluru, was produced by artist Bruce Munro who conceived of the idea while visiting Uluru in 1992. Twelve years later he created its first iteration in a field behind his home, and it has since moved the work around to several different sights across the United Kingdom, United States, and Mexico.

Field of Light was a project that refused to leave the artist’s sketchbook. “I saw in my mind a landscape of illuminated stems that, like the dormant seed in a dry desert, quietly wait until darkness falls, under a blazing blanket of southern stars, to bloom with gentle rhythms of light,” said Munro.

The British artist is best known for his light installations which often contain components numbering in the thousands. These large works refer to his own experience as being a tiny element to life’s larger pattern, and employ light as a way to tap into a more emotional response with his viewers.

Profits for the installation will benefit the local community. The Anangu tribe have named the piece Tili Wiru Tjuta Nyakutjaku in Pitjantjatjara which translates to “looking at lots of beautiful lights.”

You can visit the expansive installation yourself starting April 1st and running through March of 2017.

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Photography

Good Badlands: Dry Terrain of the American West Captured in a Brief Moment of Color by Guy Tal

June 12, 2014

Christopher Jobson

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The Badlands are a type of parched, sunbaked terrain characterized by jagged rock, cracked earth and, of course, minimal vegetation. It’s a harsh environment of lifeless wasteland but there is also good news to be found in the badlands. For the patient observer, like photographer Guy Tal, there is a delicate beauty that reveals itself only so often. “On rare years,” says Tal, describing his series of photos taken in the American West, “wildflowers burst into stunning display of color, transforming the desert into a veritable garden for just few precious days.” The reason, apparently, is that vegetation in the region has adapted to the climate. With just a tiny bit of moisture the desert can transform into a colorful garden of bright purple and yellow. You can see more photos on Tal’s website, or purchase his book More Than a Rock. (via Bored Panda)

Update: According to @happyhillers these are Scorpionweed and Beeplant flowers.

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Art

Desert Breath: A Monumental Land Art Installation in the Sahara Desert

February 20, 2014

Christopher Jobson

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Photo by D.A.ST. Arteam courtesy the artists

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Photo by D.A.ST. Arteam courtesy the artists

Located near the Red Sea in El Gouna, Egypt, Desert Breath is an impossibly immense land art installation dug into the sands of the Sahara desert by the D.A.ST. Arteam back in 1997. The artwork was a collaborative effort spanning two years between installation artist Danae Stratou, industrial designer Alexandra Stratou, and architect Stella Constantinides, and was meant as an exploration of infinity against the backdrop of the largest African desert. Covering an area of about 1 million square feet (100,000 square meters) the piece involved the displacement of 280,000 square feet (8,000 square meters) of sand and the creation of a large central pool of water.

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Photo by D.A.ST. Arteam courtesy the artists

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Photo by D.A.ST. Arteam courtesy the artists

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Photo by D.A.ST. Arteam courtesy the artists

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Photo by D.A.ST. Arteam courtesy the artists

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Photo by D.A.ST. Arteam courtesy the artists

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Photo by D.A.ST. Arteam courtesy the artists

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Photo by D.A.ST. Arteam courtesy the artists

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Photo by D.A.ST. Arteam courtesy the artists

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Photo by D.A.ST. Arteam courtesy the artists

Although it’s in a slow state of disintegration, Desert Breath remains viewable some 17 years after its completion, you can even see it in satellite images taken from Google Earth. You can learn more about the project in the video above or read about it here. (via Visual News, Synaptic Stimuli)