It’s something you wouldn’t expect to find deep inside the Mojave Desert. Yet, that’s exactly where one swimming pool has been installed — and there’s a legitimate reason why.
The eleven-by-five foot “social pool” was placed in Southern California desert by artist Alfredo Barsuglia, who installed it as a nod “toward the phenomenon of large-scale Land Art installations in deserts around the American West.”
“In its purposefully slick absurdity and inherent stance against nature – it even has an automatic, solar panel-operated filter and chlorine system – Social Pool combines elements of the sublime and the ridiculous,” a post on the artwork’s website further states. “Its absurdity becomes even more tangible with the relative inconvenience of reaching it, similar to the pains one goes through to “get-away” – when no internet research is too time-consuming, no journey by plane, train, car, bus, or boat (or any combination of the above) is too arduous to reach the location where one can relax and hopefully rediscover, for at least a week or two, one’s true self.”
GPS coordinates to the pool can be obtained, as well as a key, but only by visiting the MAK Center for Art and Architecture in West Hollywood.
“Please call or pass by the MAK Center on the day you want to visit Social Pool and check if the key is available,” the post on the website states. “No reservation possible.”
Late last month, a few reporters for the LAist discovered the pool and provided some more details about what visitors might expect during the journey in a post:“Social Pool is located in the desert, in a remote area without any infrastructure,” it continues. “Be aware that there are no roads, trails or signs that lead to the pool. You will have to walk a certain distance in order to reach the pool from the nearest road.”
You can expect to do a little driving on unpaved roads, and you can expect to do a little hiking in the desert. You shouldn’t drive all the way to the pool because you might get stuck and also, it isn’t nice to run over plants. You may encounter snakes, lizards, hares and other desert creatures along your way, but probably few humans.
The pool is small but it is also a glaring white, so you should be able to spot it if your coordinates are accurate and you are observant. The pool has two locks both opened by the key and then you and a buddy should be able to pull the cover off.
Once you have opened the pool, you’re looking at a very smart installation. The water is clean (assuming your predecessors have followed the rules) and cool compared to the desert wind, which felt like an oven on this particular day. A cute octopus bobs on the surface, telling you the precise temperature. There is a solar powered filter and cleaning supplies.