Larry and Debby Kline artists and provocateurs – installation, performances, and other works

Forty Acres Project Published in TransArtists Nieuwsbrief 18, Summer 2007 (The Netherlands)

Press Release from Debby and Larry Kline

Date: August 15, 2007
Re: TransArtists Nieuwsbrief 18, Summer 2007

Location:  the Netherlands

Artists Debby and Larry Kline are pleased to annouce that the Forty Acres project has been published in TransArtists Nieuwsbrief 18, Summer 2007, available online at:

The following is an excerpt from the magazine:

Claiming 40 Salt Acres

What would provoke anyone to spend time in Wendover, Utah, at the Center for
Land Use Interpretation’s (CLUI) residency compound with summer temperatures
rising above 40 degrees Celsius?  Artists Debby and Larry Kline know the
answer: because it is a life changing experience combining unique terrain
and a challenging climate amidst interactions with some of the most
innovative artists from around the world.  Here’s their story:

Toxic waste dumps
“In many ways the region is a holdover from the Wild West.   A land grab
mentality is pervasive even as global warming breathes down our necks.
The area is peppered with toxic waste dumps, strip mines, military proving
grounds and ammunition bunkers.  Wendover Air force base is home to the
Enola Gay hangar, an enormous structure which housed the bomber that
dropped the first atomic bomb.   Indeed this is fertile ground for artistic
experimentation and a charged environment to explore links between art,
science and anthropology.   The WW 11 air- force base is in decay, but
thanks to the Center for Land Use Interpretation some of the barracks have
new lives as exhibition halls.   Artists stay in the residency hall or
sometimes camp in the yard.   The director, Matt Coolidge, is
accommodating, creative and he manages more in a day than most people do in
a week.   He is also a repository of knowledge about the intricacies and
particularities of the American landscape throughout the United States.”

Lost or stuck in the mud
“We were invited by Brett Stalbaum and Paula Poole to create a project using
Global Positioning Systems (GPS), a technology particularly well suited to
the vastness and strangeness of the Bonneville Salt Flats.   Its
disorienting blankness has led many to become lost or stuck in the mud that
lines its perimeter.   This is the site of many land speed record runs,
countless movies and commercials, and one of the most desolate and
unforgiving environments on the planet.   While few things flourish on the
flats, the surrounding areas are sparsely populated by antelope.”

‘Bare Bones’
“We used our tank ‘Bare Bones’ to “claim and liberate” forty acres on the
salt flats, a notion which is a commentary on the current state of affairs
regarding mineral rights as well as a nod to the historical westward
migrations of the 1860′s, encouraged through the US Homestead Act.   Our
claiming of forty acres refers to the phrase “Forty Acres and a Mule”.
This phrase is a term for the compensation that was to be awarded to freed
American slaves after the Civil War: 40 acres of land to farm, and a mule
with which to drag a plow so the land could be cultivated.   This proved to
be an unfulfilled promise, because in 1865 President Johnson returned the
land to its white former owners. Because of this, the phrase has come to
represent the failure of Reconstruction.”

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