Satellite imagery of the Upper Mojave Desert reveals a deeply intriguing valley, entirely covered by motifs reminiscent of some mysterious and gigantic Earth Art experiment.
The series “Argos” explores this arid and singular place, from multiple vantage points.
As the valley floor contains a wide range of mineral resources, human exploitation has created a wide crystalline network of wells, pumping stations, evaporation ponds and service roads, a striking geometric construction strangely indiscernible from the ground. Meanwhile, overhead, the narrow valley is flanked on each side by restricted military airspace continuously used for aircraft or weapon testing and evaluation. A testament to the relentless “taming of the West”, when even some its most inhospitable corners have been put to “productive” use when possible.
Yet closer examination also betrays a sense of slow decay. The heyday is behind us, industrial facilities look tired and rusty, while investigating the local community uncovers abandoned houses and a pervasive crystal meth problem. As if we were reminded that thriving on this harsh land can only be transitory.
On July 5, 2019 a powerful earthquake of magnitude 7.1 hit the region and had its epicenter approximately 10 miles west of the valley.