American artist Sterling Ruby constructed a neon orange monolith in Coachella Valley for the on-going biennial Desert X. Known as SPECTER, the large fluorescent box appears to be an apparition before the mountainous Californian landscape, fabricating an optical illusion almost like a section of the stunning view has been photoshopped and blatantly removed.
Influenced by unusual and mysterious objects that often appear in the desert wilderness, this neon orange monolith draws in visitors with its orb-like glow. SPECTER is manufactured out of powder-coated aluminium. The outlines of the hills, mountains and the sky reflect in its vivid surface, appearing almost silver on one side once the direct sun light hits it. The box is grounded in the desert sand and acts as a symbol of artificial versus nature.
Occupying almost 90 kilometers of Southern California’s valley, Desert X has repurposed the former nuclear test site in the form of a vast and stunning exhibition area for artists. Neville Wakefield, the artistic director of the biennial, explained that the 19 commissioned artworks “embrace a range of ecological, environmental, and social issues that have been driving conversations about our role in the Anthropocene.”
At Desert X, a series of outdoor exhibitions in the Coachella Valley, this year’s artwork addresses timely and poignant issues-from the depleting Salton Sea, indigenous peoples’ rights and the political battle at the US-Mexico border. These striking pieces turn sparse land into places for reflection, debate and hope.
The neon orange monolith will remain on show from sunrise to sunset until the 21st of April, 2019. Entry to Desert X is free.