The Californian Mojave desert is the setting of Rosa Barba’s 35mm film entitled They Shine (2007). Thousands of enormous solar panels punctuate the vastness of the American desert, as part of a program to implement this wasteland. The panels - shining, mirrored machinery slowly changing position to follow the sunrise in the desert planes like a wall, behind which another world unravels, as it is imagined by the inhabitants' fantasy. The film intertwines scenes of the movement of the solar panels as a kind of slow dance or a refined choreography - with voices of people from the local community who express their thoughts about the future and talk about the images evoked by these strange machines. "They twinkle, they blink, they wink and move", one says; "There is a huge town being built behind them, with streets, dormitories, storehouses" says someone else. "It uses the light of the sun and the heat coming off the earth and the power of the wind to maintain an invisibility cloak", another concludes. 

Rosa Barba takes up a setting in which a site dominated by an extreme natural condition is no longer simply re-identified by its scientific exploitation for mankind but moreover re-evolves as a transfigured 'second nature' a surface as impenetrable as the desert that it covers.
 
They Shine, 2007

35mm film, color, optical sound, 4 min


Images 1, 2: Film still © Rosa Barba 
Image 3: Installation view at Galleria Gió Marconi, Milan, Italy, 2009 © Rosa Barba