Woodbury faculty Berenika Boberska & Scrap Marshall took part in the Bombay Beach Biennale this year, constructing their installation – the Hinterlands Kiosk – on the receding shores of the Salton Sea.
A renegade celebration of art, philosophy and music, the Biennale transforms the town of Bombay Beach into a fully immersive experience for three days of the year – but leaves a lasting mark on place which refuses to be forgotten or written off, even as the man-made lake it was built up disappears. Abandoned houses, vacant lots, as well as people’s homes and ruins of the once illustrious waterfront serve as a canvas for installations and venues such as The Bombay Beach Opera House, The Institute, the Drive-In Movie Theatre and the Hermitage Museum.
This odd setting befits the Hinterlands Kiosk, a permanent gift to the town. The Kiosk is also a devise to present alternative readings and futures for places which are usually overlooked by architects: the hinterlands, disturbed landscapes, and the under-represented communities like that of Bombay Beach. Salton Sea is itself a contentious mix of toxic agricultural run-off and newly established ecologies of migratory birds and halophilic nature – a quintessential Hinterland landscape.
A trip to the seaside is not complete without a visit to the tiny striped kiosk on a bone-sand beach. In the great British tradition of eccentric sea-side structures, the Hinterlands Kiosk teeters on the edge of an uneasy landscape – with the intrepid aim to delight. A selection of souvenirs from the Hinterlands awaits, some real and some fictitious: postcards, snow globes with worlds trapped within, t-shirts and quasi scientific accessories for the pleasures of toxic Salton Sea Shores. One begins to wonder, as the neon sign flickers on in the evening, if these items are in fact prompts for future landscapes and structures poised to emerge.