"Looking up at the billboards our attention is drawn back to the landscape itself, pictured here as a stuttering kinesthetic of real and artificial horizons.”
When you live in a naturally beautiful area of the world, it makes sense that you’d want to keep some areas free of urbanization to preserve its natural state. It’s why we have open space laws, and why certain cities reserve specific areas to remain just the way they are--free of buildings and signs.
Jennifer Bolande chose the Gene Autry Trail near Vista Chino as the site for her Visible Distance / Second Sight art installation, an installation that seeks to somewhat bring back the continuity of the natural landscapes in the area that signage such as billboards tend to interrupt. On the billboards lie photographs of the landscapes that people would normally see if the billboards were not there.
Bolande’s project is part of Desert X, and is described on their website:
“Each photograph is unique to its position along this route and at a certain point as one approaches each billboard, perfect alignment with the horizon will occur thus reconnecting the space that the rectangle of the billboard has interrupted.
In the language of billboard advertising this kind of reading is referred to as a *Burma-Shave* after the shaving cream company of the same name who used sequential placement to create messaging that could be read only from a moving vehicle.
Within the desert empire of roadside signs, Bolande chooses to advertise the very thing so often overlooked. Looking up at the billboards our attention is drawn back to the landscape itself, pictured here as a stuttering kinesthetic of real and artificial horizons.”
Through at least April 30th, anyone traveling through the Coachella Valley will be able to see the valley’s natural desert landscape become a canvas for the artists of Desert X.
Desert X’s landscape projects in the Coachella Valley are meant to “amplify and articulate global and local issues that may range from climate change to starry skies, from tribal culture and immigration to tourism, gaming and golf.”
Check out stunning pictures of these billboards and the Coachella Valley landscape below!