Last year, I posted about San Francisco art group Rebar's urban prank where they converted a downtown parking space into a public park for a day. The cover story in this week's issue of SF Weekly is a wonderful chronicle of Rebar's secret history and method behind the delightful madness. From the article:
As part of its spring 2003 "property" issue, the quarterly arts magazine Cabinet had bought half an acre in the middle of nowhere on eBay and dubbed it "Cabinetlandia." The editors offered readers 3-square-foot plots of the undevelopable desert at a penny apiece in a bizarre avant-garde statement of the illogic of ownership and the very idea of property. When (Matthew) Passmore proposed the equally bizarre idea of building a library on the site – every town needs a library, after all – the editors approved, doubting he'd ever actually go through with it.
Even to Passmore, the whole thing did seem a little ridiculous. He wasn't really an artist – six months before, he had still been a corporate lawyer. But it was too late to turn back. He and his friends had invested hours and hours planning the project, and Cabinet had already entrusted them with funds to buy materials. Passmore wasn't sure whether the library would be a "piece of art" or a project without much meaning, but he found the idea of bringing a slice of industrialized America into the wide-open Wild West very, very funny. So he lugged a filing cabinet and a few tools out of the minivan and left them on the ground. Then he drove half an hour back to the motel in Deming, the closest town to Cabinetlandia, and waited.
That afternoon, Passmore's high school buddy Jed Olson, a doctor living in Denver, arrived in his truck. Two more friends, Judson Holt, a litigation consultant, and John Bela, a landscape architect, flew from San Francisco to El Paso and met at the Deming motel. They drove over to Cabinetlandia and started digging…
When they'd finished, a crescent mound rose from the desert floor, flanked by solar-powered lights. A filing cabinet within the small hill housed the entire archive of Cabinet, waiting for anyone who might visit Cabinetlandia and want to borrow a copy. The crew gathered their equipment and planted a wooden sign that said "LIBRARY" into the ground, then started the long journey home.