desert



salvation mountainThe Los Angeles Times reports the death of an eccentric visionary who assembled his own psychedelic-religious portal to another dimension out in the desert of California:

Leonard Knight, the lean New Englander who spent three decades joyously painting religious messages on a tall mound of adobe he called Salvation Mountain in the Imperial Valley desert, died Monday at age 82.

His death was announced on his Salvation Mountain Facebook page by his devoted followers who have been attempting to preserve his labor of love east of the Salton Sea near the squatter village called Slab City.

Until his health declined, Knight had lived in the back of his truck, sharing his space with a variety of cats without names, undeterred by the brutal desert heat or howling winds. To his amazement, Knight had become a favorite of folk art aficionados.


arcosantiVisionary architect Paolo Soleri died in April at 93. His landmark work is the domed utopian village Arcosanti in Arizona, a communal, hippie-futurist “human laboratory” created in 1970, where hundreds of people still live with the purpose of developing new ways of physically organizing human life. ArchDaily writes:

Paolo Soleri spent a lifetime investigating how architecture, specifically the architecture of the city, could support the countless possibilities of human aspiration. The urban project he founded, Arcosanti, 65 miles north of Phoenix, was described by NEWSWEEK magazine as “the most important urban experiment undertaken in our lifetimes.”


Jenny Diski writes for the New Statesman: Desert, the noun deriving from the verb “to deserve”, appears to be an essential human dynamic. It is at least a central anxiety that provides…