Imperial Valley is an agricultural area spanning 80 kilometers in the southwest of the United States. The fruit and vegetable crops grown in this desert region can only flourish because of irrigation on a huge scale. The water is causing serious erosion, however, and the fertile soil being flushed away is blocking irrigation channels. The poisonous dust particles left by military bomb tests in the past only add to the problem. This industrial-scale agrarian monoculture is threatening to create a new Dust Bowl, a disaster for both the economy and the environment.
Lukas Marxt used a drone to film the area from above. To a soundscape of ominous electronic sounds, we watch endless rows of crops pass by in a sequence broken only by the occasional palm tree. With time they gradually become visual white noise, abstract patterns that are unrecognizable for what they are. This landscape may have been made by people, but it’s an inhospitable place where they clearly don’t belong.