Love Letters from Calzona

In this series, I wanted to explore the spatiality of Calzona and my own fascination with the juxtaposition of elements. The desert is known for its “nowhere-ness,” bleakness, and barrenness. However, the desert can also be a place to escape from the busyness of life. What would it be like to inhabit only this desert place for your entire life? What if the desert was the only place you had known and you could only dream of escaping to other places? I began to think about the desert as a space in juxtaposition to other places, like the ocean or space. From this, I developed the concept of my series, Love Letters from Calzona. Each piece features an animal native to Calzona sending a love letter to a creature from another place. In conjunction, I printed each piece as a postcard with its accompanying letter and left them in the Calzona mailbox. But the postal service doesn’t reach Calzona, and the letters will never be sent. Thus each letter becomes a missed connection, two star-crossed lovers destined to only meet in their dreams.

 

SpaceLetter
To the Mars rover,
Each night I explore this desert alone. I have no company except for the constant presence of the moon. The cold and dusty nights get so lonely. But I think of you, up there exploring that foreign desert all alone. In my dreams, our two deserts collide and we explore this rocky terrain together.
From,
The Jackrabbit
SpikyLetter
To The Sea Urchin,
My spines have always scared others away. No one wants to get close to me for fear of getting hurt. I know you understand my struggle. I know you use your spines to keep you safe. But protection comes with a lonely cost. In my dreams, you come close, for you do not fear my spines hurting your fragile heart.
From,
The Porcupine
SnowLetter
To The Harp Seal,
Our homes are opposite extremes. You live in the freezing arctic cold, and I, in the scalding desert heat. Maybe one day, we will meet somewhere in the middle, on a cool, sunny afternoon. In my dreams, I am cool against your softness and you see behind the rough exterior I hide behind.
From,
The Tortoise
SeaLetter
To The Seahorse,
For all of my life, all I have known is this dry, endless desert. But I have heard stories of the beautiful sea, and I have heard of you, the majestic seahorse, dancing gracefully in that blue oasis. In my dreams, you see the stallion I am in my heart and we dance intertwined on these sandy dunes.
From, The Burro
Monster
To The Dragon,
I know they say you are a monster. They call me one too. In this desert, my scaly exterior scares everyone off. The loneliness has turned my heart into a reflection of my desolate home. But in my dreams, you aren’t scared of my venomous bite and you bring color into this monster’s barren heart.
From,
The Gila Monster

 

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Herba Fugax

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Abstract

A new species of fauna was discovered on June 3rd, 2018 by researchers at the Calzona Technical Institute. The new plant has been named the Herba Fugax after its quiet and reclusive nature. The Herba Fugax seems to be a newly evolved organism with surprisingly advanced organ systems. Despite not having any animal cells contained in it, the Herba Fugax is raising many questions about what it is to be a plant versus an animal. Many of its features and behaviors are reminiscent of organisms in kingdom Animalia more than kingdom Plantae.

Anatomy

Ion Storage Center

The Herba Fugax has several different specialized systems with various functions, all of which require energy provided by a central storage location in the body of the plant. This cylindrical organ is capable of creating lithium ions (Li+) which are then passively used to force electron movement. That electron movement is then harnessed by the organ systems in various ways. The Li+ pool is constantly draining via the organs, and refilling itself via the photosynthetic plate.

Photosynthetic Plate

Not to be confused with the standard photosynthetic approach of plants and bacteria, the Herba Fugax’s means of drawing energy from the sun is dramatically different. Rather than using a photosynthesis-cellular respiration loop with CO2, H2O, and Glucose; the Herba Fugax uses a strange silicon-phosphorus-boron system. Calzona Tech is doing more research on this new approach to see how it might be applicable to human photovoltaic systems. Initial observations found that they are extremely similar approaches.

Circulatory and Peripheral Nervous System

Unlike most plants which have independent Xylem and Phloem which transport various nutritional needs, the Herba Fugax only uses one channel to provide the energy needed by the organ systems. This revolutionary system combines the nervous and circulatory system into a single path – where the energy sustenance is provided through the electrical impulses directed by the CNS. The axons, however, are made of a surprising aluminum structure which is wrapped in polyvinyl chloride instead of a lipid bilayer of myelin as commonly seen in animals.

Central Nervous System

The first known CNS in a plant exists in the Herba Fugax. It is extremely simple and seems to do little more than control when the nerves connected to the stem are sending impulses to the phosphorescent organ, and when they aren’t. One very strange feature of the CNS can be seen if looking closely at how it was programmed – so to speak. The CNS seems to be communicating or attempting to communicate with some other intelligence, sending it information about its state of being. Researchers at Calzona Tech found that the information it was communicating revolved around a state of fear which the CNS would enter into if its receptors detected potential predators in the environment.

The recipient of these messages is still unclear, and speculation that the communications are for some other organism unknown to us. Unconventional organ systems in the Herba Fugax could communicate with other unconventional organ systems in yet to be discovered organisms.

A notable clue as to this organism’s ancestors was found while examining the CNS. Particulates were found which only exist in Southeastern China near the modern day Shenzhen. This would indicate that initial assumptions about this being a newly evolved organism could be grossly incorrect. But as East Asia and Western North America were never connected, not even during Pangaea, scientists have been left with many questions.

Stem

The most notable part of the Herba Fugax is its stem which stands about 1 foot above the surface of the ground. It is made of a translucent Poly(methyl methacrylate) structure which is extremely effective at hiding the plant – making it almost invisible to keen-sighted animals like humans and hawks. This is speculated to be one of the contributing reasons as to why it is only now that this species was discovered.

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At the base of the stem is an organ which acts very similarly to phosphorescent organisms, but is completely unique. It uses directional electron movement to generate a very bright green light which is directed up the stem. The stem then glows with this green light.

There is still great discussion at Calzona Tech with regard to the purpose of the light and the stem. The most prevalent theory is that they are used for sexual reproduction similar to the glowing courtship seen in squid and cuttlefish. This would, however, be the first known instance of a plant displaying courtship behaviors.

Body

The main body of the Herba Fugax hides underground in a shape somewhat reminiscent of a flattened potato. This structure has prompted immediate DNA testing to be done to see if this new species belongs in the tuberosum family. The DNA Sequencer at Calzona Tech currently isn’t operational, and so, this study has been placed on hold. It will likely need to be outsourced to another university if the sequencer isn’t up and running soon. It, however, does not possess stolons commonly found in tubers. Another feature which indicates its uniqueness is the utter lack of root systems altogether. The bulbous body is perfectly smooth except for a small lip near the ground’s surface.

Receptors/Phosphorescence

Inside of the body is a green colored organ system which is used to detect movement in the environment, most likely used to hide from predators. A receptor picks up minute electromagnetic movements in the environment in the microwave region of the spectrum. When sudden changes in the environment occur, the receptor sends a signal to the CNS.

The receptor is able to detect movement only due to the immediately adjacent phosphorescent organ which emits microwave radiation out in all directions, giving the receptor something to look at.

Both of these organs get energy transported to them from the Ion Storage Center.

Touch

Behavior

Daytime

During the day, the Herba Fugax is all but invisible to animals. It, however, does seem to continually produce an ever so slight green hue from its stem. The plant seems strangely unaware of whether or not the sun is out. It acts exactly as it does during the night time, with the notable difference being that they are extremely difficult to spot during the day

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Nighttime

During the night, the Herba Fugax truly shows its colors as its green stem can be seen glowing from over half a mile away. As noted previously in this paper, there is a discussion on the purpose of this nocturnal glowing and its potential relationship to sexual reproduction. Any sort of mating has yet to be observed however.

This beacon can be suddenly extinguished by the CNS when the Herba Fugax feels threatened by potential predators like humans. The receptor sends out a signal in response to a nearby movement which propagates along the PNS’s aluminum axons to the CNS which immediately cuts off signals being sent to the stem’s light-emitting organ, causing the green glow to disappear. Thus far, trains and humans seem to be the main trigger of this shy/fearful behavior.

 

Location

 

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The Herba Fugax have only been found in a small one square kilometer cluster of 17 plants. None are particularly close to each other (particularly strange with the courtship behavior), and little can be determined about soil preference other than that they appear to thrive in the dry desert earth. Two Herba Fugax were found near railroad tracks, one in an abandoned tire, and a third in the shade of a brick wall. All others were found next to plants or out in the open. There seems to be little to no reasoning for their locations.


Lifespan

There have yet to be any dead Herba Fugax found, and so lifespan is yet to be determined.

Announce: Calzona Museum inaugural June 2nd 2018

The Calzona Museum will be inaugurated during an invite only art and performance event on June 2nd, 2018. The mission of the museum is serve as a forum for the growing Calzona California arts community, and to desert artists at large as a host site for projects and experiments. A particular focus of the museum is that the desert is something, not nothing. The museum is particularly interested in media, computing, experimental uses of electricity and geography, and studies in sustainable environmental art practices.

Inaugural Performance

Max Herman grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota and attended public schools there. He received a BA in English from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and an MA in English from Syracuse University. He worked on various internet-based art and writing projects from 1998-2008, including the confrontational Genius 2000 project. He now lives and works in Minneapolis and is focused on off-line writing and performance projects.

architectural cutaway
Contemplates, illustrates, encourages

Solstizio Calvino” invokes Italo Calvino’s unfinished chapter “Consistency” from the 1985 book “Six Memos for the Next Millennium.” The last memo exists only as the title: “Consistency.” Herman’s performance contemplates the value of this missing chapter for human expression in the third millennium, illustrates its network implications across fields, and encourages participants to experience that principle as the common experience of shared perception, expression, architecture, literature, and place. The piece will also seek to provide a gestalt appreciation of mindfulness as an aesthetic mode shared by all in common which heightens the brain’s capacity to perceive and express free and shared connections. The work of the Human Connectome Project at the University of Minnesota will be referenced as a layer to illustrate the connections between mindfulness practice and the brain structures that facilitate the inner networks of cognition including topics such as the Default Mode Network, interoception, fear extinction, and the Connectome project.

Time: sometime in the evening June 2nd 2K18, Calzona Museum, Calzona CA.

Max Herman headshot
Max Herman

Calzona Cult: The Apex of Daedalus

A new discovery has been made in regards to Calzona’s rich history.  A documentation of a cult-like group called “The Apex of Daedalus” was recently unearthed.  The documentation is an ancient book written in a cryptic transcript.  The each complex symbol of the transcript correlates to an English letter and it is possible to decipher the text with enough time.  The book divulges the origins of “The Apex of Daedalus” as well as the standards each member must uphold.  “The Apex of Daedalus” was formed by “Creator Etris” after allegedly inheriting the soul of Daedalus.  Etris began sharing his knowledge and creativity with several others; however, as more sought his teachings “The Apex” was formed.  Using Calzona as a base of operations, “The Apex” began to raise creatives to send into the world.  Each member is deemed an apostle.  Illustrations of magic circles and pentagrams reveals that the cult practices some form of black magic and rituals to transfer creative energy to specific dolls.

Currently, the book is the only evidence of “The Apex of Dadealus”.  Since the book was dug up in Calzona, there may be more evidence to discover.  It is possible to find other evidence such as the antique dolls used in their rituals or artifacts created by the apostles.  By searching for evidence, it is possible to expand upon the history of Calzona.

The Miniature of Calzona & Drone View

Not everyone wants to spend five hours to arrive Calzona, but my friends and I did. What I saw in Calzona was that many talented artists have put their efforts in this place. Their projects made Calzona looks so real and so energetic.  So, I decided to do something to make this place more attractable.

My project’s name is “The Miniature of Calzona,” This is an architectural model that genuinely reproduces the details of Calzona. Every project in Calzona is correctly placed in my model. And every project is reproduced by the same way but on a smaller scale. Standing in front of my completed project, I do think there are many potentials in Calzona. I can imagine that there will be a path connects The Chinatown and The art gallery. Or maybe there will be a vendor machine stands aside from the Uber station. I am so glad my classmates who brought so many bright ideas for developing Calzona in this quarter. And The Calzona project needs more and more talented artists to join in.   If you don’t have time to visit Calzona Calzona looks like, my project would give you a rough sketch.

I also provide a video link https://youtu.be/NGb400cY5Zo which leads you a drone view of current Calzona.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grand Crystal Palace

The Grand Crystal Palace is a concept hotel design by Chengxu Zhou.

Crystal palace

Make living in the dessert an enjoyable experience is the ultimate goal of this hotel project. Also takes into consideration of self-sustainable design and renewable energy generation.

The Grand Crystal Palace is the preview of a new future solution to construct buildings in harsh environmental situations.

Crystal module

Crystal Structure

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Happen & Happenstance

Whenever something happens, it might be coincidental, and it might not be. In the world of remixing existing songs to create new ones, the appropriated songs have attribute of happen and happenstance at the same time. They were created by someone else, yet they ended up at the mixing console of the artist, by chance. The creation of such a song is a very reflective process in which the artist is forced to think of the deeper meaning of recontexualization of existing songs and the merge of them in order to create meaningful piece.

The protagonist in this short film took a long thought of the notion of putting something into a different context half randomly and half deliberately. He picked a CD from his collection of Japanese Jazz-Hip Pop music CDs and selected one song from the CD he picked. It happened to be the early production form the late artist Nujabes based in Tokyo, Japan. He then went to find all the samples used in the song and mapped them on to his mixer and tried few times at his house.

And into the low desert of Calzona. It is surely one of those random places that come across the mind. What does it mean just to go there? What does it mean to bring a certain piece of music which has nothing to do with the place over there? What does it mean to physically carry the idea and melodies than the consisted of the song and play it there? The solitary journey, the vast desert, and the song from far far away. Check the video “Happen and Happenstance”.

The link to the video is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVce60JR4pI

Calzona, My Dream Come True

Good Morning Calzona

Like any major city, Calzona needed a theme song. After recording samples of old real estate ads for other antiquated subdivisions, an interview with the cast of TV series Grey’s Anatomy (which apparently features a couple referred to as Calzona), and finally bringing a car full of audio gear to the site to record sounds for the instruments used in the song, the finished product is better than I had ever imagined. The song is a dubstep style beat with heavy electric guitars (the only non-Calzona element in the entire mix) and all other instruments- even the synthesizers- are entirely made of audio recorded at Calzona. As a side project, I created a fake persona as CRuSHFaCe, a surprisingly friendly dubstep musician/radio talk show host, and created an hour long talk show interviewing other members of the Calzona Collective. Both projects are now playing on an infinite loop at Calzona (Calzona Radio 88.9FM) and also streaming on SoundCloud.

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Calzona, My Dream Come True (Theme Song)

Good Morning Calzona (Talk Show)