Artist Hides Swimming Pool in Mojave Desert

By Sabrina Elfarra

Jul 1, 2014 3:50pm
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Artist Alfredo Barsuglia installed a pool hidden in the Mojave Desert as a part of an interactive art exhibit that opened June 20. Courtesy of Juliet Bennett Rylah/LAist.

It’s art, but it’s also more than two hours from the museum, involving a drive then a hike across the Mojave Desert in search of a remote and secret pool. 

The task is for individuals who wish to participate in a new interactive art installation titled Social Pool. The sculpture is the work of Austrian artist Alfredo Barsuglia, who created the project to highlight the lengths to which a person will go for leisure.

 

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Artist Alfredo Barsuglia installed a pool hidden in the Mojave Desert as a part of an interactive art exhibit that opened June 20. Courtesy of Juliet Bennett Rylah/LAist.

“I wanted to build a man-made luxury that is in great contrast to the area around,” Barsuglia told ABC News today. “Water and pools are a status symbol, and it’s interesting to see how far people will drive to get to it.”

The piece was completed June 20, and consists of a single small pool that is open to the public, but visitors require a key to unlock it as well as the pool’s GPS coordinates, which are kept secret. To obtain the key and the pool’s location, potential swimmers must visit the MAK Center for Art and Architecture in Los Angeles, where Barsuglia was in residence in 2006, and request one of the four keys to the pool.

If a key is available, the requester will be given the key for 24 hours after a staff member photocopies their driver’s license. Each user is given a sheet of paper with rules, including not being allowed to copy the key or disclose the pool’s location. 

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Artist Alfredo Barsuglia installed a pool hidden in the Mojave Desert as a part of an interactive art exhibit that opened June 20. Courtesy of Juliet Bennett Rylah/LAist.

Writer Juliet Bennett Rylah visited the pool Sunday for the sake of adventure.

“My friend and I always talked about going to the desert and then this story came up, so we said let’s go,” Rylah said.

Rylah chronicled her experience for LAist, writing, “the pool is small but it is also a glaring white, so you should be able to spot it if your coordinates are accurate and you are observant.”

The pool has two locks needed to take the cover off, and Rylah said the water was surprisingly clean.

 

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Artist Alfredo Barsuglia installed a pool hidden in the Mojave Desert as a part of an interactive art exhibit that opened June 20. Courtesy of Juliet Bennett Rylah/LAist.

“We heard all four keys were checked out all day Saturday but it didn’t seem like many people had used it,” said Rylah.

The exhibit has already garnered much attention, which artist Barsuglia said was unexpected. As to whether the pool will stay in good condition is something he said is just part of the exhibit.

“What happens next is out of my hands,” said Barsuglia.

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