If you’re an Angeleno who wants to cool off this summer with a dip in the pool, but aren’t lucky enough to have access to one, you’re in luck — provided you have a car, a full tank of gas, a GPS, and don’t mind wandering around the Mojave Desert, that is.
As the Los Angeles Times reported, Austrian artist Alfredo Barsuglia’s Social Pool recently opened somewhere in the 25,000 square mile sprawling desert east of L.A. The eleven-by-five foot micro pool is open to the public, however it’s locked and the location is a secret. The only way to get the key is to stop by the MAK Center for Art and Architecture in West Hollywood, where you can obtain the GPS coordinates as well. The key can’t be reserved and if you’re lucky enough to get it, you only have 24 hours to make it to the desert and back before it must be returned. Furthermore the pool is not terribly “social,” in that the artist intends it for use by “only one person or small party at a time.” Each person who visits is also required to bring a gallon of water to maintain the level in the pool. Barsuglia certainly isn’t making this easy.
Which seems to be the point. Whereas seminal works of land art like Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, Walter De Maria’s Lightning Field, or Michael Heizer’s Double Negative are similarly hard to get to, they offer a sublime experience specific to their natural surroundings. Barsuglia’s work on the other hand is no different than the thousands of pools littering the backyards of Southern California, only much smaller. In this sense, Social Pool is a commentary on the absurdity of contemporary excess. “When you are there by the pool,” he told the LA Times, “I think you really understand what a luxury this is and you start to ask yourself if it’s really worth it. Perhaps some people might feel that this is not something they need to do.” For those who do feel like it’s worth it, the pool is open through September 30th.
also by Matt Stromberg
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