Calzona Collective: Cultivating Desert Ideas is continuing research on re-birthing a desert city, Calzona, CA, by students in VIS 149, Winter 2018. Calzona was stillborn in the in the early 1970s when the land was subdivided into "double wide" size lots near the Colorado River. Streets such as Main St, Calzona Ave, Gobi Ave, and Atacama Ave were bulldozed into the Colorado desert in a sort of accidental 70s land art reflection on poorly regulated urban planning. Calzona's redevelopment began with a VIS ARTS 149 course in the Spring of 2016 (UC San Diego), and is led by Brett Stalbaum, Cicero Silva and Jane DeAlmeida. Many other artists and students have work in the general neighborhood. (Other area artists include: 2016 Calzona Prize winners Debby and Larry Kline, Paula Poole, and until recently the Cannabis Sanitarium Institute.) The Winter 2018 class was challenged to write/think/design/propose for the site in the context of a history of commercial real estate fraud dating back to some of the United States' first supreme court cases (The Marshall Trilogy), incidents such as the Pine Barrens and Yazoo land scandals that roiled large parts of the nation through much of the 19th century, the related Trail of Tears genocide, shady recreational land sales practices that gave us the term “Swampland in Florida”, the sub-prime mortgage crisis of 2007-8 that led to the Great Recession, as well as a wide swath of Southern California desert art including the Wonder Valley art scene, with which Calzona shares a zip code. Four or five of the student works proposed during the class are going to be realized at Calzona California during the Spring of 2018. More information can be found at

Works by:

Sidney Gao
Brian Kim
Diego Guardado
Alvin Pascua
Francisco Duran
Yunshen Wu
Nick Phalen
Areli Margarita Alvarez
Chengxu Zhou
Isaac Fehr
Stephanie Menhart
You Zhang & Ruisheng Wang
Yifei Xie & Jialiman Sun
Jeffry Jaman
Steven Porter
Akira Mariano
Chengzhang Zhang

Special Thanks to Reinhart R Selvik and Yuka Nakanishi for helping us get this show together!

Image detail is courtesy of the Calzona Collective.

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