Exploring East Jesus*

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This weekend was a road trip out to Salvation Mountain, you probably haven’t heard of it unless you’ve read Into the Wild or if you’ve seen the movie of course. It’s getting more and more popular nowadays which is not necessarily a good thing because soon enough this place will start getting packed. You can visit our previous post on Salvation Mountain to get an idea of what I am talking about. Anyways, the location of such is called Slab City, “The Last Free Place”.  What many people don’t know is that down the road for about 20-30 minutes, passing Slab City and Salvation Mountain exists “East Jesus”. A community created by  maintained by artists and volunteers to mainly have a refugee for artists to express and create. Envisioned and founded by Charlie Russell who left his tech job, packed all his belongings into a shipping container, and headed out into the desert to a place known as Slab City. Originally intending to work on Salvation Mountain, he began to surround the two art cars he had built for Burning Man with sculptures. These would become the foundational works of East Jesus. Russell constructed a labyrinthine central complex that now houses administrative, operational, and hospitality facilities, as well as a performance space with a studio grand piano, a PA, and a stage lighting system. The main area is an open-air gallery of all recycled and re purposed materials found here in Slab City. Behold art made out of old tires, TVs and cars as well as homes made out of school buses and children’s playgrounds.The compound is powered by solar panels whose resultant energy is stored in batteries; they have cell service and wifi, but no running water. Since Charlie’s passing in 2011, a board of directors has guided the curation and expansion of East Jesus, honoring his vision of a sustainable, habitable, ever-changing art installation.

See story as a video. (Via www.DesertUsa.com)
A very interesting place to visit not only to check out art but to meet the people and artist who maintain the place. If you are heading out to Salvation Montain, you can drive over here in less than twenty minutes and it is totally worth it.

 

Check out the pics and info below and visit their website for more info.

East Jesus Vision:

 

“The Chasterus Foundation seeks to maintain and expand the vision of the late Charles Stephen Russell in Slab City, California.

Together, the inhabitants of East Jesus and offsite members provide a refuge for artists, musicians, survivalists, writers, scientists, laymen and other wandering geniuses.

We are dedicated to providing a working model of an improbable improvised community at the edge of the world.We are most interested in low-tech solutions, unresolved theories, non-linear advancement, and creative reuse.We strive to document the results of these endeavors, sometimes simply by their existence. Our documents are sometimes nails, concrete, and sweat.

We are partially an exhibition space for those problematic projects taking up your warehouse space, partially a build space for those problematic projects taking up the desert.

One of our guiding philosophies is “do as thou wilt”; another is “do no harm”.

Situated in the harshest, most remote part of Slab City, California — itself a radioactive dumping ground for the pariahs and lepers of the First World — and suffering from extreme temperatures year round, that East Jesus still survives is a testament to the tenability of mutation and the stubborn hearts of those who call it home. It sits tameless among the bones of things left behind and worlds that never were or are yet to come, and flays life of the temporary and the superficial to reveal what we in our surrender and hopeful naïveté have deemed what matters, what mutates, what lasts: love, art, the will of the individual, the strength of the collective, the desolate and tenebrous beauty of destruction, the toxic acid-burn of creativity. It is a legacy of madmen and dissidents made to survive until the next age of the world, when our ruins will tell the archaeologists of the future and the visitors from other worlds that we, too, were here.”

Taken from eastjesus.org

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