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Kim Stringfellow's Jackrabbit Homestead created for Desert X 2021 is a 122-square-foot cabin
Kim Stringfellow's "Jackrabbit Homestead" sits sedately in the desert landscape. | Martin Mancha

What a 122-Square-Foot Cabin Says About Life in the Modern World

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The following is a series of dispatches from Desert X 2021, which explores the desert as both a place and an idea.

It was gratifying to see Kim Stringfellow, and her "Jackrabbit Homestead" installation in the line-up for this year's Desert X. Given the plethora of artists and creators living in and documenting the depth and richness of this desert's historical and creative landscape, it's been somewhat perplexing to locals why Desert X, which has — for better or worse — chosen this desert as a backdrop for its installations, has not explored this inherent body of work before.

The inclusion of Stringfellow's installation, based on her book "Jackrabbit Homestead: Tracing the Small Tract Act in the Southern Californian Landscape 1938- 2008" is a wonderful way to introduce visitors to the area to the history and socio-cultural context of the humble homestead cabin — that now classic architectural ambassador of the deserts of the southwest.

Kim Stringfellow tells the story of desert landownership from a woman's perspective. Watch this video to learn more.
Kim Stringfellow's Jackrabbit Homestead

For Desert X, Stringfellow has decontextualized the cabin from its rural desert setting of vast, open vistas to a relatively urban one: the 122-square-foot cabin sits quietly between the Palm Desert Chamber of Commerce and a pharmacy.

As if to accentuate this, upon arrival, we're greeted with a small group of people playing music from one of their cellphones, drowning out the narrated soundscape of homesteading stories, as told by Catherine Venn for Desert Magazine in 1950. There is much posing and taking of selfies in front of the cabin, until the group disperses as we approach.

This may seem a strange juxtaposition, but if you drive around remote and bumpy areas of the Mojave high desert, you'll witness similar scenes these days. The desert homestead cabin has become a status symbol of boho-chic cool, and is in the crosshairs of a new wave of capitalism, spearheaded by the aspirational lifestyle of the social-media "influencer."

Kim Stringfellow's Jackrabbit Homestead created for Desert X 2021 is a 122-square-foot cabin
Kim Stringfellow's Jackrabbit Homestead created for Desert X 2021 is a 122-square-foot cabin
1/9 A view from the side of Kim Stringfellow's "Jackrabbit Homestead" avoids all signs of modern life. | Martin Mancha
Kim Stringfellow's Jackrabbit Homestead created for Desert X 2021 is a 122-square-foot cabin
Kim Stringfellow's Jackrabbit Homestead created for Desert X 2021 is a 122-square-foot cabin
2/9 A long view inside Kim Stringfellow's "Jackrabbit Homestead" shows a study area beside the kitchen area. | Martin Mancha
Kim Stringfellow's Jackrabbit Homestead created for Desert X 2021 is a 122-square-foot cabin
Kim Stringfellow's Jackrabbit Homestead created for Desert X 2021 is a 122-square-foot cabin
3/9 A small oven and a washstand seen from inside Kim Stringfellow's "Jackrabbit Homestead." | Martin Mancha
Kim Stringfellow's Jackrabbit Homestead created for Desert X 2021 is a 122-square-foot cabin
Kim Stringfellow's Jackrabbit Homestead created for Desert X 2021 is a 122-square-foot cabin
4/9 A writing desk can be found by the window along with books, journals and other materials inside Kim Stringfellow's "Jackrabbit Homestead." | Martin Mancha
Kim Stringfellow's Jackrabbit Homestead created for Desert X 2021 is a 122-square-foot cabin
Kim Stringfellow's Jackrabbit Homestead created for Desert X 2021 is a 122-square-foot cabin
5/9 Inside the Kim Stringfellow's "Jackrabbit Homestead," is a cozy one-room bedroom, kitchen, study area. | Martin Mancha
Kim Stringfellow's Jackrabbit Homestead created for Desert X 2021 is a 122-square-foot cabin