In this digital artist project made exclusively for Pelican Bomb, Alli Miller and Trey Burns take us on a trip into the desert.
“Henry Wesselwoman's /r/American Fan Fic,” an accelerationist sci-fi vision of the American West, emerged from Alli Miller and Trey Burns’ journeys around Primm, Nevada, former site of the “Chance Event: Three Days in the Desert,” organized by Chris Kraus in 1996.
DJ Cousin Birdy: “Ram rod steward of the road! Judgement awaits all in the desert!”
Driver looks over ‘ere dash, cutting across the border at an august 85 MPH. Big boy air conditioned Beastess, off-brand energy drink in the cupholder. Pushing past Vegas-metro, passing through the gateway, this truck stop points to a new municipality, geographically insignificant. The boundary behind dunes, that Occasional Oasis, reveals a total multimedia experience. Beastess make Driver feel like a rockstar-narcocorrido or some shit, balls fresh, something new when everything else is clearly borrowed.
Dream Beastess, the landscape rolls like Brawny paper towels under burning rubber. It’s mirage-hot in the new land of Walmart compounds and Boeing silos. Driver’s vape curls thicker than stripper feathers choke the shorter, pussy-footed men new to that which haunts the desert at night. Thick transmissions, passing through AM, FM, cellular, satellite radio. The casino is just a dot on the horizon, the solar fields burn bright, scorching eyes, torches of potential.
DJ Cousin Birdy, pecking the feed again: “D’ere Sheriff determined these words have no particular nexus to terrorism, aaaaand now a word from our sponsors...”
In the times that followed and through the advancements in robotics, as well as synthetic materials, the popularization of sex bots became a major boon for Primm Valley. As the first and last chance casino in Nevada, it became the leading outpost for the emerging market of Android Sex. First legalized in the great state of Nevada, first in Virtual Sex Worldwide, registered trademark. Experimental forms of robotic intercourse paved way for a cookery book of anesthetic fêtes—find pleasure through virtual reality! Goggles placed over the eyes, sleeves over phalluses, the slight whirring of electronics, pixelated gurgles spill unconvincingly from earbuds (“fuck me, i’m a preteen consumer!”), stiletto signals sent deep into the brain through the use of magnetic stimulation. A nice, softie hat gets laced up with wires connected to nodal points, strategically positioned to harmonize with a lite❤MRI administered prior to the walk down a long corridor and endless rows of rooms, escorted by frittery graphene tits.
DJ Cousin Birdy: “The whole buffalo was kiboshed...”
Boink Rooms, couples welcome but treated suspiciously, walls coated in black non-stick, meticulously deployed hypoallergenic surfaces, so vacuous and clinically repellent. Silicone fuck dolls, simulated lovely lumps, skinned humps lined with detergents, heated to the surface through the use of nano-tubing. The miracle of plastics! Mountable electric cocks, hybrid orifices, so many options, so accommodating! Don’t forget the bitMouth, conceived by a team at MIT (the development of which was used as seed money for their asteroid mining project). SEXPATS UNITE! It’s all part of the feedsphere: < LOG IN AND FUCK > < fuck anyone > < fuck someone > < fuck with friends > < fuck japan > < fuck real time > < fuckercize with fonda > /r/casual encounters, /r/intimate rendezvous with loved ones overseas, /r/conjugal visits for military wives. Military money? You guessed it, it’s been weaponized, subsidized and deployed against the merchant bachelors of the world bent on customizing their unit.
Driver, exhales: “Los Angeles finally built that fucking train. Nah, they did it, done built the fastest train in the history of the goddern planet. Why? For sex dolls, that’s why. For casinos, that’s why. All those Silicon Valleries had to bowl their dice off, that’s why. Now every desert animal is incontinent, impotent, desire maxed out by the feed. Now the desert animals need faux marble crooks to cock themselves, androids’ solar panels burn bright, captcha light to import a kilowatt of semen for the dern things to fuck, get money, et-cet-er-ah. Screw the environment, boys just wanna screw cyborgs—it’s the economy, stupid! Don’t got no water in the desert, we got lube. Hah, LUBE!”
Driver’s scorched lick reaches the outer brim of ‘ere dash, up around a greased Circle K napkin, and sits back down.
They said sheriff-coroner Buffalo Bill was doing so well that he declared martial law and opened up an aquarium attraction/distraction for the kids. Single dads brought the kids out there for a nice weekend and then sneak away to the Boink Rooms, Boink Boink Rooms, or the Boink Boink Boink Rooms. But anyhow, the aquarium was filled with these miserable sexy fish from all over the globe. Every corner of the planet, they spared no expense. They spared no mercy.
There was a whale caught in those walls, an indigo whale. The only ever placed in full captivity. Only possible because they were taken off the endangered species list and right then a young calf washed ashore with his mother. Buffalo corralled him alright. Chortled when he saw the spunky little critter and took the little mite home with him. Folks claimed they’d stare at him for five minutes and see him grow right before their eyes and, boy, what a buttery hard on that’d give ya. Swole your heart with pride. Grew so big that 50 handles plus a vape plug could fit between his eyes and it took a school of hot underage guppies a whole hour to swim from fluke to crown.
He looked out from the glass. At all these idiots and their stuffed children. Of course he understood. He even learned their language. Able to read their lips. And he would laugh to himself about all the stupid shit they’d say.
Congress of Rough Riders! When are Annie Oakley, Calamity Jane, Marvin the Martian, and Johnny Appleseed coming to the story?
Can they come now?
Marvin the Martian, submitting to the gravity of the barstool, stares into a complimentary bowl of Voss hydration liquid. The bar has a Pretty Puppies slot machine embedded to the laminate (you can bet there isn’t a surface you can’t gamble on). Three paws light up top and Calamity Jane stirs.
Calamity Jane: “That edible hit you yet?” She pauses, then strokes her taze to make sure she’s still physically there.
Marvin: ”Fuck, I think so...”
Calamity Jane: “You’re looking sugared up. Did you stay up late on the feed last night?”
Marvin: “I... I don’t know.”
Marvin swallows cotton mouth hard. Once popular pussy-pumping radio DJ Cousin Birdy, Marvin’s avatar, already twice cloned, outsourced and lost to the failed battle of globalscript media standardizations. Now he’s any other affected pimp bot, rigged through vocalization jerries and deep-pocketed besoothed rhetoric, but what’s it all about anyway if not a payline or a boink boink?
Marvin: “It’s hard to keep track of this place.”
Calamity Jane: “Right…by design. For disorientation. Like in grocery stores, when they rearrange the cereal aisle to switch the Smax from one side to the other. When you’re disoriented you tend to be less present in your decision making. I learned that in grad school.”
Marvin: “Really? That seems uh, counter-innovative.”
Calamity Jane leans in: “What do you mean?”
Marvin: “I mean, it seems like an entity would be more, uh, focused when they’re, uh, fresh to the element or something. When a new variable is present, the entity must switch off auto-pilot to, uh, engage?”
Marvin steadies his little body on the edge of the bar and looks up at Calamity, bleary eyed but nonetheless, smizing.
Calamity Jane turns dramatically to the hydration spinner: “Giant wind mills, those are our aqueducts. Things that people will marvel at and wonder about deep into the future.”
Her eyes roll back in hymnal agnosticism: “O’ Pi-oh-neer! This inhospitable place yields a palace built on an abstract notion of hospitality! Well, no, no... ‘hospitality’ seems too close to ‘hospital,’ and at that a hospital with beds for rent, or a hospice with constant care and comfort being paramount. It’s cheap and it’s flimsy, this planetary paradigm, and instead of opiates (heaven), it’s just alcohol (hellwheels) and weed edibles (purgatory)...”
She trails off, soaking triumphantly in her words.
Drink spinner spinning, spinning as if to pray to pull open the Pretty Puppies, reeling lines of tennis ball captcha’d charms. The contents could pour out into a cup; the spinning, the output, a strange salt-rimmed symmetry.
There are so many ways to get wasted. A physical presence, it looks as though you could lean against it. And it would kiss you back, watermelon-kiwi charm and all.
As Johnny liked to say to anyone who’d listen, the whole buffalo was kiboshed.
A dusty back entrance. A late century car o’er there, couple semis ceremoniously idling ’round the lot. A gate that leads to a dusty road that leads out into the dunes. No trespassing, but who’d want to? What would you find out there? Out past the solar towers, there’s nothing but bad branded land. Unforgiving food deserts. Endless sand, endless sand, endless sand. Few pathetic shrubs, couple ’er species of lizards that’d been discovered and undiscovered again. Endless sand, and still, out in that unending endlessness where it seems spit is worth shit, somewhere there is an old tire, an old dry-rot tire, and a silly thing tooken’ up residence there. It’s an unending comedy of disaster. All the little exceptions, exceptions to the unknown, just rearin’ for an audience. All that unheard gospel, Johnny Appleseed lived off of this shit like a slug on sweet hominy.
The whole buffalo was kiboshed. Where’d he heard it before? Well, nevermind that.
A solar gen flares up in the distance, it’s hot white becoming unbearably hotter, unbelievably so. <br/k> A solar flare <br/k> A solar storm<br/k> A camera flash <br/k> And then, a reprieve. <br/k>
dancing jamming on her own grave.
Wessel Castle (b. 2012) is an ongoing collaborative archive from Alli Miller and Trey Burns’ commutes and travels into the megatexture of the American landscape.
Henry Wesselwoman (b. 2014) is an avatar that embodies revisionist praxis through a reconsideration of the New Topographics generation of landscape photography.
Alli Miller and Trey Burns are artists based, respectively, in Los Angeles and Atlanta.