Contemporary Art Quarterly

Essex Street
September 7 – October 26, 2014
UV inkjet print on aluminum
12 x 18 inches

In 1985, the Algerian Ambassador to France, after three meetings with us to study our satellite observations of the IranIraq war, revealing vast earthworks similar to US earth art but designed by Russians, asked if we could propose similar vast earthworks to restore the Sahara Desert to what it was long ago: animal-rich savannah. This led to detailed proposals for the Grand Erg Oriental (into Tunisia) and Grand Erg Occidental (through Mali). Following through became tough with the civil war. We could do that now. In the east, we could remove soil runoff in sub-sea-level sinks to gradually restore what Herodotus described as a giant Gulf of Triton. In the west, we can restore inland salt seas in what’s now Mauritania, working to open up flows to the Atlantic. Nutrients from the northern coast get harvested and turned to biofuel or food in the Gulf of Gabes, vindicating the ambitions of Carthage. (Research since 1985, Paris; first shown in 1994, Vienna, with sequels in Pescara and Milan, and “Arab Springs” at White Box, NY, 2011.)
Image courtesy of Essex Street, New York
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We would especially like to thank Peter Fend for generously agreeing to participate in this project.  

Thank you to Essex Street, New York for their help acquiring hard to find texts and images of Fend's exhibitions. Daniel Herleth of Oracle, Berlin also helped provide crucial digital versions of old slides. Thanks also to Barbara and Howard Morse for a substantial collection of scans of writings, exhibition texts, and ephemera.