We Can Terraform It For You Wholesale

[Image: Real estate development or avant-garde earthwork? The future streets of Ascaya; courtesy of Ascaya].

The website for the stalled Las Vegas development known as Ascaya—which we saw in the previous post through the aerial photographs of Michael Light—is itself quite remarkable and worth a quick visit.

At first glance, the site could actually be mistaken for some kind of strange new media art project, a near-future ad for an interplanetary terraforming corporation dedicated to selling huge geometric shapes directly to consumers.

Slow transitions drift from shot to shot as we peer out over these strangely beautiful, unfinished landforms in the desert, seemingly endless in number as they step back—and back, and back—toward the horizon.

It’s like a planet reconfigured by obsessed geometricians—where, surreally, each individual form is actually for sale.

[Image: Another view of the abstract landforms of Ascaya; courtesy of Ascaya].

Accordingly, the website presents us with Romantic shots of uninhabited geometry, the gleaming towers of Las Vegas only barely visible in the background, catching the final rays of an arid sunset, as if this is actually the sprawling backdrop for a more interesting remake of Total Recall.

[Image: One more glimpse of Ascaya; courtesy of Ascaya].

In any case, my initial reaction in seeing the Ascaya website was that it could actually pass as a kind of online art auction for the world’s most ambitious land art installation—not a real estate site at all—selling the work of someone far ambitious than, say, Michael Heizer or James Turrell.

After all, surely Ascaya, specifically in its unfinished state, is more seductive—and more interpretively exciting—than the, by comparison, almost absurdly boring “Spiral Jetty“?

Perhaps, next to the work of people like Walter De Maria, we should be studying Ascaya—and a pilgrimage to these weird black steps in the desert should be on the list of any collector of American land art.

3 thoughts on “We Can Terraform It For You Wholesale”

  1. You are onto something, Geoff, thanks. (The Dia page and most references to Spiral Jetty don't mention the essay and short film that go with the earthwork; not boring individually, imo, or taken as a whole.)

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