A handful of the grads and I attended the Joshua Tree Music Festival from May 13th-15th. Rimas installed his floating island which contained a live young palm tree and an ice chest of various goods. Tim projected a large scale video of reeds undulating in the wind against the actual reeds in the Joshua Tree Lake. Nick installed various pieces of PVC pipe and LEDs that took on the form of nightly periscope incarnations. Emily subtly fixed her fabric "rocks" along trees and rocks around the lake. Nikki and Patrick installed a large wooden box on four stands, with a wide tacticle slit near the bottom of the box. And Elcin performed with a pair of mirrors that reflected and refracted cinematic images of desert-themed movies.
The festival itself contained this unusual and unique dynamic of various visitors. Old and young, with or without tattoos, yoga pants, and dreadlocks, one of the ways in which we were able to identify each other within the desert landscape was through our wristbands. The music between the two stages located in the "music bowl" area of the festival probably collected the most visitors and movement. But there was also plenty of visitors and campers that hung out in the wider periphery of the music festival.
Jared and I were set to perform our piece on Saturday night, which involved locating each other with a set of parameters for moving and non-verbal communication around the lake. We brought weather balloons and Jared rented a 100 cubic ft. tank of helium, which would have contributed towards creating these pseudo-placemarkers that would float above us. Throughout the sunny and warm weather on Saturday, our class instructor Dick was concerned about the heavy wind pattern. We had to pull the plug on our performance and were both bummed out that we couldn't carry through with our project. Dick was apologetic as well, in light of other technical difficulties in a couple of the other grads' projects. But Jared and I later changed our minds and decided to still try something.
On our way towards the fringe of the parking lot of the festival, we stopped and noticed something floating in the sky. There was a faint glimmer of light that moved in one part of the sky. At first it seemed like it might have been an airplane, but the light did not move in a flight trajectory. Instead the light flickered and moved around in a circular motion. It must have been a UFO! We watched the sky for a good 10 minutes. There was at a couple of moments where a green flashing light also flickerered above this bright white light. Up until that point I did not think I would become a UFO sighter, but am now a believer.
Van (rhymes with "fun") C. Tran