What an artist hopes a swimming pool in the middle of the desert says to a society of consumers.
Hidden in the middle of the Mojave Desert is “Social Pool,” a whole new way to escape its sweltering heat—you just have to find it first. Designed by Austrian artist Alfredo Barsuglia and completed last Friday, the pool is tucked away in the coordinates between Joshua Tree and Apple Valley.
Social Pool is accessible by the public but is kept locked and can only be opened by those who receive the key, which is kept at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture. If the key is available for hopeful swimmers to access, they are given the GPS coordinates to the pool, another requirement of gaining entry to the desert paradise.
Barsuglia says he built the pool during a time of intense California drought in order to convey the idea of whether luxury is necessity. He figures that if people really want to do something as a treat, such as a dip in the pool, they will do the work to attain it. He says that most people treat an in-home pool as something to have but not to use.
The artist’s new Mojave Desert creation removes luxury from the everyday home and requires a hike to find it. Bursuglia says driving out to the pool will likely cause a car to get stuck in the sand, and making it a solo trek only welcomes danger. He warns of rattlesnakes, scorpions and heat stroke at the site of the pool, which he compares to something that looks similar to the setting of an archaeological dig.
Barsuglia’s work often comments on human nature’s tendency to consume. His 2008 sculpture “Oderfla Beauty Resort,” which he built outside of Flamingo Heights in the Lucerne Valley.
This theme of water provision in the harshest environments might seem ironic but is one that Barsuglia follows as he continues to make art that surprise and stump even the most adventurous.