Alluvial Albums

Found along Big Rock Creek in Llano, CA in 2017, two family photo albums survived the sand, sun and water in the Mojave desert. Now part of the Waste Wunderkammer, the snapshots, polaroids and ephemera are revealed within the context of little known history of the nearby Llano del Rio utopian experiment. The project is part of MaidenLA 2020.

Concourse C

Selections from the Waste Wunderkammer – Station Eleven Edition – a project for the NEA’s Big Read Morongo Basin 2019 is inspired by Emily St. John Mandel’s book. The collection of curiosities found in the desert parallel’s Station Eleven’s Museum of Civilization, a display of extinct technology housed in the gift shop of Concourse C.  The Mojave version features research into the provenance of each item found languishing in our fragile arid eco-system. 

Selections from the Waste Wunderkammer

Collected since 2013 across the Mojave from Antelope Acres to Piñon Hills, the exhibit includes dirt, dust and research into the provenance of these sometimes rare, sometimes sublime, storied objects along with documentation of their discovery and of course a map. Opening Saturday, August 25th, 2018 from 4-7 PM at the Antelope Valley Conservancy in Quartz Hill, this event is part of Maiden L.A. 2018.

Eco-Scenography at the Wallis

Revisiting my scenographic roots, For Nurture documents the collection of over 300 pounds of furniture pieces gathered from illegal dumpsites in the desert and repurposed as part of my stage design for Edward Albee’s At Home at the Zoo at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, CA.

Manifesting Giant Rock

Between 65 to 136 million years old, the “Great Stone”, a seven story quartz monzonite rock, is said to be the world’s largest free-standing boulder. Manifesting Giant Rock reveals the local history, biographical information on key characters who lived nearby, events at the site, related publications and contemporary audio stories.


DEHSART >>trashed<< backward began in 2013, capturing, mapping and collecting illegally dumped trash to encourage a new view of waste as a resource through community engagement and collaborative on location assemblage interventions. The project was generously supported by multiple grants from the Antelope Valley Illegal Dumping Task Force.

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ON ALL Day – A Desert Reflection at Llano del Rio

Date: May 6, 2017

Time: 10.00 - 16.00

Location: 93544

Art in Place | placekeeping | Public Humanities


Please join Positional Projects on Saturday May 6th from 10-4 for ON ALL Day – A Desert Reflection at Llano del Rio, a self-guided tour featuring multiple locations around the 2,000 acres of the experimental utopian community honoring their final May Day celebration in 1917. Host Karyl Newman will share insights into the colony’s history from her Beinecke Fellowship while presentations by special guests will offer new perspectives on California Historic Landmark #933. Please RSVP to reserve your spot, souvenir guide, directions and details.

Guests provide their own transportation between locations. Sites are not wheelchair accessible, guests under 18 must be accompanied by a guardian. There is no fee to participate, however check-in is required. Tickets are limited.

We look forward to reflecting on Llano’s important history and building a new public memory, together.

Guest Speaker at Artists’ Tea at Joshua Tree National Park

Date: March 19, 2017

Time: 09:00-11:00

Location: Cap Rock Parking Area

Art in Place | storiesandstewardship


Join Karyl Newman this Sunday to talk trash over a cup of tea. Newman documents waste abandoned in our landscape on Instagram as @dehsart and large dumpsites @blightsites. She will share her projects mapping illegal waste deposits across our desert, identifying spots for cleanup and providing free reuse resources for artists using the app at Recently she used debris data to collect over 300 pounds of broken furniture, re-purposed for her stage design at the Wallis Center for the Performing Arts. Take a tour of what was taken HERE.

We will discuss easily accessible online cartography tools to share location based information and how we can re-think waste as a resource.

Please bring a mug, cup, or container to enjoy tea together.


Eco-Scenography at the Wallis

Start date: March 10, 2017

End date: March 26, 2017

Location: The Wallis Center for the Performing Arts

placekeeping | storiesandstewardship


Almost exactly ten years ago, Karyl designed set and costumes for Coy Middlebrook’s production of Edward Albee’s Zoo Story, at Deaf West. In 2004, Edward Albee wrote a prologue to the better known Zoo, giving a new window into that upper east side world, At Home.

The Wallis and Deaf West have co-produced an evening uniting these two pieces under Coy’s direction, At Home at the Zoo.

Newman is thrilled to return to this story and cohort, in this production design incorporating images she shot in Central Park with pieces of discarded furniture found at dumpsites, uniting her site photography with material resourcing to offset the often wasteful practice of scenery production while interpreting the savage behavior of illegal dumping with our animalistic instincts.

Over 300 pounds of discarded furniture were gathered from locations around the Mojave, places Newman is well acquainted with through work documenting discards for over 4 years now and by utilizing the mapping tool she created to crowdsource reports of dumping for clean up or as a free reuse resource.

Please see the show.

Llano Community Association

Date: February 11, 2017

Time: 2 PM

placekeeping | Public Humanities

Llano del Rio Hearth

The LCA has invited Karyl Newman to speak about her research on the Llano del Rio Colony reflecting on her 2016-2017 Beinecke Visiting Research Fellowship on Saturday, February 11th at 2PM.

Beinecke Visiting Research Fellowship

Date: October 21, 2016

Location: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Public Humanities

Beinecke Library Interior

The recently renovated Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale holds research collected by Paul Kagan while writing New World Utopias and includes photographs and papers about the Llano del Rio Colony and a travel journal by little known feminist architect Alice Constance Austin recently acquired by Yale Professor, Dolores Hayden within the Western Americana Collection.

Karyl Newman was awarded the Archibald Hanna Beinecke Visiting Research Fellowship during the 2016-2017 academic year to support her research on Alice Constance Austin’s plans for the socialist utopian experiment in the Antelope Valley north of Los Angeles founded by Job Harriman in 1914. She looks forward to sharing her discoveries in a series of public discussions in 2017 marking the 100 anniversary of the comrades’ exodus from the desert to New Llano, Louisiana.

Beinecke Interior Photo by Will Pryce

Arts Connection Conference 2016

Date: October 8, 2016

Time: 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Location: University of Redlands - Orton Center

placekeeping | storiesandstewardship


Arts Connection, the arts council of San Bernardino County, holds their annual conference, From Competition to Collaboration, on Saturday, October 8.

In September, Arts Connection partnered with artist Karyl Newman to make possible the new ESRI-based crowdsourced beta  reporting application – anyone can participate by adding a geo-tagged image and description of where waste is out of place. This data can be used to organize cleanups or identify locations as material yards for adaptive reuse.

Blightsites founder, Karyl Newman will be speaking about the project as part of the panel:

Arts + Ecology: Creative Problem-solving

Join us for a passionate conversation about the critical role of the arts in generating awareness, developing solutions and activating change towards environmental health and justice. The impact of climate change is already impacting our lives and ultimately our survival. Air quality and water scarcity are real problems we face everyday in our region. How can we as visual and performing artists and administrators develop creative, collaborative projects that engage our communities in positive and effective ways? A variety of perspectives and current projects that harmoniously unite the arts and ecology in San Bernardino County will be shared and discussed. 

Joining Forces

Start date: May 27, 2016

End date: June 26, 2016

Time: 6:30 PM

Location: 29 Palms Art Gallery


As part of Mil-Tree’s Plant to Paper Project Karyl Newman will be reading from the writing workshop’s anthology at 6:30 PM on Friday, May 27.

Louise Mathias and Leilani Squire led the writing workshop. Silkscreened handmade paper covers each of the chapbook anthologies of prose and poetry by the participants.

Please join us as we celebrate the opening of the culminative work of the Plant to Paper Project. For months, civilians and veterans have been working side by side to create art in a variety of mediums, all based on paper created by removing invasive species from Joshua Tree land.

The California Arts Council announced a grant for projects that would enrich the lives of California’s veterans, active-duty military and their families through the arts. Arts Connection reached out to Mil-tree, an arts-based, veterans and community organization in Joshua Tree, California with a similar mission. Together, they enlisted the help of numerous other non-profits and developed a project that would offer opportunities for everything from hiking and environmental work, to paper-making, writing and life casting.
The project involved the removal of invasive plants under the leadership of Joshua Tree National Park vegetation management’s team, with support from Mojave Desert Land Trust.
Artists Denise Kraemer and Cathy Allen then guided participants in transforming the plant material into pulp and paper, and lead subsequent workshops for veterans to develop 2 and 3 dimensional works. A silkscreening workshop with the paper and writings was led by instructor, Duan Kellum.

Project filmed by Kate McCabe.

Blight Sites

Date: April 20, 2016

Time: 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Location: Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert

placekeeping | storiesandstewardship

As part of Arttalks: Conversations with Tomorrow’s Experts

Blight Site Drone 29Palms

Since 2013, Karyl Newman has documented illegally dumped materials left in the Mojave. Using GPS coordinates, she links her images to locations using digital mapping technology, revealing the unseen scope of disregard for our desert. As an artist and researcher, she assembles abandoned objects in place or rescues items to reconstruct stories. In celebration of Earth Day 2016, she is launching a collaborative public map project, Blight Sites, where citizens can contribute their own dumpsite discoveries citing both materials available as a creative reuse resource and areas identified for cleanup initiatives. 


Start date: April 6, 2016

End date: April 17, 2016

Location: Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions

By Land or By Sea – a program of FVAF 2016 by Micol Hebron


Inspired by Mike Davis’ City of Quartz, Newman read and recorded the names of neighborhoods built along Lancaster’s Avenue K while inside the silo ruin at the socialist utopian experiment, Llano del Rio. Paired with video she captured during a 2013 dust storm where 60+ mph winds obliterated perception of space,  AVE K considers the loosening of land around new housing tracts and solar arrays in the Antelope Valley. The recording begins the podcast, The Next Step, introducing Llano del Rio’s feminist history and a CFP for the centennial event she produced with Cindy Rehm of Craftswoman House in May of 2014.

To learn about how more about how housing tracts impact the desert check out this article.

Talking Trash

Date: March 17, 2016

Location: Hi-Desert Nature Museum

placekeeping | storiesandstewardship

Brown Bag Lecture Series


While capturing the desert for a time-lapse project in 2013, Newman discovered an illegal dumpsite in Palmdale, CA. Since then she has been documenting and mapping what we leave behind. Visit, the word trashed spelled backwards, to learn more about her education program, community cleanup boxes and map based on her instagram images aimed at reversing the rubbish in our Mojave.