Following in the footsteps of the Land Art movement of the 1970s, design studio Ball Nogues has designed this cyclonic public art piece to intervene upon the vast landscape of the Mojave Desert. Invited by High Desert Test Sites, the Yucca Crater will be a cool oasis-like pool near Joshua Tree Park made by reconfiguring the giant mold used to construct Ball Nogues' Talus Dome.
Ball Nogues’ project, Talus Dome, is a carefully constructed “pile” of stainless steel spheres on the side of a freeway in Edmonton, Alberta. To create the shape, and elaborate mold was engineered from wood. Using this framework, Ball Nogues conceived of Yucca Crater, turning it 180 degrees, with the former peak as the bottom. The project will evoke land art but with a modern twist and will be constructed entirely from man made (and recycled) materials. The 24 foot tall crater will dominate the flat desert plane and inside will sit an oasis pool, filled to 8 feet deep. Visitors to the desert can take a refreshing dip by using rock climbing holds to get into the crater. The pool will be heated with solar power, and continuously pumped thanks to a wind powered turbine.
Repurposing Talus Dome’s formwork challenged Ball Nogues’ idea of conceptual work, creating a piece that was almost the exact opposite of the original (which was a solid mass set into a cold and snowy climate). The project addresses the issues of recycling, eliminating waste, and draws attention to our impact on the environment.
Land art became popular in the 1970s, with such famous works as Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, a sculptural coil extending in Utah’s Great Salt Lake, and Lightning Field by Walter de Maria, a field in New Mexico with steel rods that attract lightning and create a beautiful light show. Both are still in existence. Ball Nogues takes inspiration from these great works, adding an element of modernity by addressing current environmental issues with their pieces.