These images from the self-proclaimed « Last Free Place in America » seek to illustrate the paradox of this semi-formal settlement in the middle of South-California desert. Built over a former military base, with no services like water or electricity, and camped 5 miles from the closest village, the Slabs are a promised land for anyone seeking to live outside of mainstream American society. It is as if this desolated environment could be the only place where to achieve the American dream of freedom and liberty. Yet the hippies, drug addicts, snowbirds, spiritualists, loners, survivalists and hoboes of all kinds living there form an eclectic microcosm of society where some rules still prevail despite its apparent anarchy. These unwritten laws serve the purpose of preserving good order amongst the community by primarily defending private property, thus recreating one of the most basic elements of the economic system this alternative society shies away from.
The semi-permanent habitations creatively built from various found objects convey a sense of solitude under the menacing skies whose colors have been transformed to emphasize the surreal aspects of the Slabs. The images can be read almost as fictions, as if they were pictures from a post-apocalyptic movie set, but they can also be seen as premonitions of what might be coming for humanity if natural or man-made disasters were to threaten our lifestyle. They raise questions about what is to come for mankind while showing an actual example of the type of society our descendants might have if they had to start society from scratch.