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Kate Balug


I was tired of life in the mad house of Los Angeles. Lonely and at once crowded with millions of Angelinos all around me, I wanted to create something that looked how I felt, to find places that suited my emotions. I turned to parking lots, city streets, freeways, and shopping areas, all spaces made for people who inhabit the city. 

The masses of Los Angeles are almost part of its landscape: not humans who give warmth and comfort, but architectural fixtures that fill every nook and cranny. When those people aren?t there, the landscape isn?t open but empty.

A tension is present, because we know these spaces won?t stay empty forever, and an apprehension of things to come is felt. It?s the transition from one moment to the next, the stillness between the daily storms of life in the city.

I had shot at Joshua Tree, the popular desert park close to Los Angeles, in the past, and loved it for its vast spaces and silence. The space is truly open as it stretches to the horizon, and that which does fill it appears small and insignificant, fully at the desert?s mercy. A sculptural exhibit brought to the desert the hippest LA art cats, with their hot pink pants, concrete-worn cowboy boots, and too cool for school attitudes.

Here, they stick out like a sore thumb, pulled away from the millions just like them in the city. The art too shows a metropolis mentality-given all the vast openness of the desert, some pieces conserved space by cramming all of one?s living quarters into a box the size of a bed. Vulnerable to quick changes in the surroundings, both the carefully timed moments of emptiness in the city and the rare human interference in the desert have a certain kind of unnerving beauty of something seen out of time. A human disturbance of the free desert openness is unexpected, much like a disturbance of the human presence in the city.

Kate Balug