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A Literal Desert Oasis

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We like to think of a swimming pool as being like a desert oasis: a place to rest and recover in the midst of our daily journeys and obligations. Well, an Austrian artist by the name of Alfredo Barsuglia decided to take the desert oasis metaphor and run with it. In the middle of a desert in Southern California, hours away civilization and out of sight of so much as a dirt road, Barsuglia installed a swimming pool.

Artist Alfredo Barsuglia built a literal desert oasis.

Photo Credit: Alfredo Barsuglia, Social Pool, www.social-pool.com

Yes. A swimming pool. In the desert. A literal desert oasis.

The pool is no mere hole in the ground either. The swimming pool, dubbed “Social Pool,” has an automatic cleaning and filter system, powered by solar panels installed alongside the pool. Also, a skimmer is provided for users to do a bit of cleanup if necessary.

In order to take a dip—it’s about the size of a hot tub, so you won’t be swimming laps—you have to visit the MAK Center for Art and Architecture in West Hollywood. When you get there, if nobody else has beaten you to it, you can sign out the key that unlocks the pool cover, and are given a piece of paper that gives the GPS coordinates for the otherwise impossible to find desert oasis. There is no charge, and the only rules are that you can’t copy the key and you have to return it within 24 hours. And if you’re feeling especially courteous, you can bring a gallon of fresh water to top it off. A visitor to the swimming pool states that it’s about a two and a half hour drive from the MAK, and advises potential visitors to make ensure that they have a full tank of gas in the car, as well as some water and food. It’s in the middle of the desert, after all.

Barsuglia says that the pool is a commentary on the value that people place on luxury items such as swimming pools, but he also intends for it to be a relaxing, contemplative experience, where visitors can get away from everything and appreciate the surrounding beauty of the desert.

For more information on the pool, please visit the MAK’s website, www.MAKcenter.org.

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