Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI), Wendover, UT and West Wendover, NV – 2012

Nils Norman leads a workshop with Land Arts of the American West at the Center for Land Use Interpretation in Wendover, Utah to examine the relationships between physical space, the commons, and cultural production, while working with students to create utopian proposals for alternative city plans of the Dual-State city of Wendover. Norman discussed research methodologies and modes of investigation, then led a tour of the two Wendovers with the Land Arts students: visiting casinos, residential neighborhoods, and public infrastructure. Over the week, students developed three collaborative projects through student directed research and production. These three projects were then presented as proposals, models, and a concept board: Desire Lines of Wendover, Utopian Toolkit, and Community Creativity Zone.

Nils Norman presents his research on playgrounds, the disappearing commons, and collaborative, interdisciplinary, public art/design/permaculture projects.


Cecilia McKinnon
September 03, 2012

Casino impressions: glittering carnival funhouse technicolor amalgam of pop culture technological playground—sort of a schizophrenic attempt to reference, reify, the stereotypical glamour of old casino culture, the vacation up and out of ordinary life, with the inescapable blinking neon glossy buybuybuy consumer aesthetic sneaking in. These people look like zombies, glassy-eyed and deadpan, bored and jaded and not buying into the cultivated atmosphere of exotic but tame risktaking (but they must to some extent or why would they be here?) Interfacing with rows upon rows of nearly identical glowing modules, slight variations in names and form but essentially the same game repeated hundreds of times. Their card inserts clipped on a string to their pockets like some sad alien parody of an umbilical cord. No windows—don’t need to think about the world outside. Forget the time, forget the land, forget your dented car dusty in the baking sun outside.

In Montego Bay I was writing down the names of the games (wolf run, jaguar princess, towers of the temple, paradise garden, black widow, coyote moon, uncle sam) looking for some pattern, and the manager came up to investigate.

Looking down across the state line dividing Wendover, UT and West Wendover, Nevada

Students explore the blaring landscapes of casinos in Wendover

Investigation of desire lines across Wendover

Investigation of backyard gardens and trash heaps

City Planner, Chris Melville, presents the future, West Wendover city plans to Land Arts

Construction of the Community Creativity Zone model, made out of found objects and materials

Presentation of the Community Creativity Zone model, created by: Jeff Nibert, Cecilia McKinnon, KB Jones, and Emily Vosburgh

Presentation of Desire Lines of Wendover, concept board, with complete details about desire lines around both Wendovers and a rejuvenation project located along one of these desire lines. Created by: Eric Cook, Eso Robinson, and Heike Qualitz

Presentation of Utopian Toolkit, with disposable cameras, postcards, pamphlets, journal, and mailer to be used by Wendover residents to identify problems and creatively rethink solutions through exhibitions and workshops. Created by: Katelyn DeLuca, Marne Elmore, Lea Andersson, and Amelia Zaraftis