In 2006, Land Arts of the American West was asked to create an ARTL!ES ‘archive’ at Cabinetlandia, a borrowed piece of land near Deming, New Mexico. The site is part of the Deming Ranchettes, desert scrubland throughout Luna County that was speculatively divided into 87,000 half-acre residential lots and sold in the 1960s. Bound by a major east-west railroad to the north, the voided subdivision containing our site is bisected by Interstate 10. Its original dirt roads have become faint shadows tracing property lines across an expanse of open horizon. This seemingly empty Chihuahuan Desert basin appears as a zone to traverse on your way between places. Void is the essential character of this place. Its transient nature and the ambulatory mode of Land Arts investigation prompted a dispersed response to the project. Instead of making a static container, our goal was to locate the actual issues within the landscape and archive the stories, or lies, returned in that exchange. After considerable difficulty with the weather and local site conditions, we spent three days distributing the printed history of ARTL!ES in and around Deming—finding, and being found by, people willing to talk. Through this process unpredictable events ensued, like the invitation of the Kretek twins, ranching sisters in there seventies, for our entire crew of seventeen to join them for an evening at the Rio Mimbres Country Club. Before dinner, Geraldine and Gertrude’s good friend ‘Hawk,’ a lifelong cowboy and circus performer, treated us to a rope trick demonstration—in the dining room. Once all the issues were located, the recorded stories were edited and compiled for broadcast on the site. A portable tower was built to project ARTL!ES into the void; to broadcast the stories of Deming into the desert, towards the passing traffic, and back into the landscape that produced them.
Audio archive of the first fifty-one issues of ARTL!ES created through an exchange of journals for stories from people in and around Deming, New Mexico, 6-11 October 2006.
Produced under the direction of Chris Taylor by Land Arts of the American West.
Final audio editing by George Morrow.