The Center for Land Use Interpretation Newsletter

CLUI Wendover

4766A CLUI Wendover tour group visits an abandoned aerial navigation arrow known as SFO-SLC 59 on a hilltop above Interstate 80, one of many that marked the route for air mail planes flying between Salt Lake City and San Francisco. CLUI photoLooking Backward
2015 was another busy year at the CLUI interpretive compound at Wendover, on the edge of the Salt Flats of northwest Utah. The Wendover Residence Program continued with new residents from all over spending a few weeks or months in town to do projects on or about the region. These included the Italian architectural scholar Ludovico Centis, who researched Manhattan Project history and developed an installation proposing a new type of Cold War monument; Katie Jenkins and Parker Sutton, architects who made typological landscape displacements in the region; Marie Lorenz, an artist from New York City, who developed a boat for exploring the deep salt canals of the Bonneville Flats; Sara Jacobs, a landscape architecture graduate student exploring notions of wastelands; and Ingrid Burrington, an artist and writer from New York City, who researched communication infrastructure in the region. She also assisted Zaq Landsberg, who used the CLUI workshop to construct the Decennial Monument, which was installed to celebrate the tenth year of independence for the Republic of Zaqistan, a remote nation north of the Great Salt Lake. The duo of Leila Nadir and Cary Peppermint, from Maine and New York, are veteran off-the-gridders, and were in residence at Southbase, developing food production technologies, the final link in the habitation machine constructed by SIMPARCH. School groups that came by included classes from the University of Utah, the University of Arizona, and Chris Taylor’s Land Arts of the American West class from Texas Tech.

The annual Wendover Work Party was held on Labor Day weekend this year, a change in plan that, though conceptually appropriate, and not quite as hot as the usual mid-summer fest, kept a few of the regulars away, due to impending academic commitments. Work partiers were largely former residents and serial Wendover recidivists like Steve Badgett, Deborah Stratman, Dan Torop, Jen Hofer, Rob Ray, Jenny Lion, Hikmet Loe, Jed Lackritz, Philip Weil, Eric Potter, Aurora Tang, and Matthew Coolidge. Also helping out was the current resident Ingrid Burrington. Nina Elder, Erin Elder, and Nancy Zastudil, who often work and travel together, and operated the PLAND program in northern New Mexico, also pitched in this year. Thanks to you all for your (late) summer sweat!

4765More research teams will be heading out into the the Great Salt Lake Desert in 2016. CLUI photoLooking Forward
Starting this year, there will be some changes to the Center’s Wendover Residence Program, including the fact that it will no longer be called a residence program.

The term was derived from the established genre of artist-in-residence programs, but since we didn’t want to limit it only to people who consider themselves artists, we simply called it a residence program.

Unlike most residence programs, though, ours was not about providing a gift of time to contemplate and ruminate. It was always about action, about response. The reason it was started in Wendover in the first place was so that people could react to being there—you had to. Wendover is not a comfortable place, it’s a compelling place.

We started the program at Wendover more than 20 years ago, and over time more residence programs have emerged, even in curious and remote places, to support those working in artistic and community-based fields. There are residence programs in National Parks, municipal landfills, ghost towns, working ranches, rocky coasts, sandy beaches, inner cities, abandoned iron mills, rotting boatyards, and on tiny floating islands in Indianapolis. A new residence program opened a few years ago in the sagebrush near Montello, just over the hill from Wendover.

This proliferation can be a great resource for artists, and it has further affirmed what a residence program is, and is not. We will continue to support creative projects in the region by providing logistics, workshop space, exhibit spaces, and housing, and other resources if and when we have them to offer.

Also, from now on, we will be focusing attention on specific sites to work with and specific themes to explore, starting this year with the desiccating saltscape of Gunnison Bay, one of the most compelling and repelling places on earth. ♦