The following is an outline of the retreat schedule from 2018.  You can refer to it to gain a basic idea of what the focus and pacing of the retreat has been like before, though our intentions are to experiment with new approaches each time.

November 16, Friday

  • 3:00-5:00pm
    • Arrive. Settle in. Introductory Activity:
    • Spectacle and Silence: De/Constructing Artifice with Ariel
      • Using Baudrillard’s theory of hyperreality as impetus, build and destroy a miniature mock village while contemplating the two faces of the desert. Search for relics of the real in the hyperreal by building a paintbrush with natural materials.
  • 5:00-6:00pm
    • Introductions.
  • 6:00-7:00pm
    • Dinner. Cook your food in communal kitchen.
  • 7:00-8:30pm
    • Engaging Community as Creative Social Praxis with Sean
      To know an environment intimately it can be argued that it is necessary to engage communities and people who define that place. This workshop will introduce methods for engaging with the Joshua Tree community for understanding and connecting with place in deep and more meaningful ways to inform the creative process.
    • Meet and greet. Workshop 1. Intention setting.

November 17, Saturday

  • 9:30-11:00am
    • The Desert Gothic with Sean
      Aesthetic lineages of the gothic were introduced through Romanticism and have since accreted meanings that offer an adaptable framework for artists and writers. This workshop will introduce ways to identify, adapt and integrate gothic aesthet- ics for a desert locality.
  • .11:00-12:30pm
    • Silence and Psychogeography with Matthew
      Begin by cultivating silence, becoming receptive to the environment, and unhin- ging from ordinary mental filters. Following this meditation, take what the French Situationists called a “derive,” moving through the desert landscape in a strategic or spontaneous way to experience it as brand new.
  • 12:30-3:00pm
    • Lunch | Complete tasks assigned by Sean.
      Option for lunch in town.
  • 3:00-4:30pm
    • Creative Practice in the Anthropocene & Exploring Dystopia with Sean
      This workshop will outline methods for engaging in creative practice by examining and adapting constructs of the “anthropocene,” climate change and dystopia.
  • 4:30-6:00pm
    • Power & Superorganic Movement: Desert Gothic with Ariel
      To your own comfort level, partake in magick ritual, inviting an astral being to influence your art. Define Gothicism and consider its presence in the desert. Explore art, poetry and ancient Egyptian spells.
  • 6:00-??? – Dinner in town!

November 18, Sunday

  • 9:00-10:30am
    • Japanese Zen Aesthetics in the Desert with Sean
      Making use of Japanese Zen aesthetic concepts including wabi sabi and shibui, this workshop will seek to identify these occurrences in the desert terrain and integrate them into a written or visual arts practice.
  • 10:30-12:00pm
    • Animating the Desert: Poets Theater with Ariel
      Compose a short poetry play using characters from the desert itself and True West by Sam Shepard as source material. Work through definitions of poets theater while reading works by Diane di Prima and others. Explore themes of environmen- talism and anti-establishmentism
  • 3:00-4:00pm
    • Space Cowboy Reading: Release of Bad Ken: A Journal of Place


2017 Workshops:

Last year’s workshops included Eco-Consciousness and Creative Praxis: Engaging the Web; Desert Initiation Workshop; Transhistorical and Cultural Geographies as Source; Desert Alchemy and Wabi-Sabi at 49 Palms Oasis; Vertical Integration: Geologic Forms as Muse; Commun(e)ication: Ontopoetics and Dialoguing with Place; Eco-Consciousness and Creative Praxis: Engaging the Web; High Noon Ceremony; and Transhistorical and Cultural Geographies as Source.

Here are some images from 2017’s workshop series: