When creating The People of Calzona I wanted to capture the idea of what Calzona itself was; a small community out in the desert on a plot of land that had been made too small for any substantial use, and was abandoned. However, nearby there were still a few real inhabitants of the Calzona area.
I was inspired by the International Airport Montello project. In particular the way that the artists from eteam came in and created the art space and let the community of Montello be a part of the performance. I felt like this, in a few ways, was something that Calzona lacked. To play off of this lack of community in a space where there was already a small population of people, I wanted to create a space where there could be a fabricated community of people to interact and engage with the incoming projects and the existing ones. This community would act as a commentary of our own work and also the ideas and history of Calzona as a whole, being an area similar to those that were part of other more publicized land frauds, where the lands potential was inflated by fantasy stories of life out in the beautiful countrysides or having our own slice of heaven. The users of the People of Calzona website were to act in a similar way to these advertisements, creating a sense of an engaging community where there was nothing.
On another level, the people of Calzona speaks to a brighter idea of Calzona. These fake inhabitants show what it could have been like out in the desert, what if a community had formed, and we were entering into that already existing space. Later in the project I opened the site so that people working in Calzona could make their own posts about their work and be commented on Calzonas fake community: Calvin Zonavsky, Carl Nozacs, and Nora Classon. I wanted to bring the made up community and the real artists together, like eteam did at International Airport Montello, making them all people of Calzona.