Monsters and Dust

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I found the domes by scanning my route with Google Earth. The image from abovexxxii was curious enough to draw me to this remote site in the middle of the desert. I had already passed nearby earlier that day to catch a friend’s band play in Tucson. They took me to a big backyard after-party where by coincidence I met the brother of a guy who cut my friend with real bad with a knife in Chicago. As soon as some kids started playing beer-pong I split and backtracked to the north for about an hour towards Casa Grande.

I turned onto the dirt road leading to the domes and had a strange feeling passing a few remote houses at 4am. I drove really slowly for what felt like 15 minutes (but was probably only 3) before I saw the first dome. I pointed the car’s headlights onto the structures and got out to peak around for a minute, but it was too weird. I went back to the main road and found a nearby gas station parking lot where I could sleep.

In the morning I went back and walked through the complex of segmented domesxxxiii, which was like some cavernous futuristic cathedral but in ruins. The interior perimeter was covered in layers of graffiti for as high as a tall person could reach. The light in the space was very dramatic, with regular portals perforating the cement towards the top and the occasional chunk of ceiling that had fallen. But the most startling feature of this space was the sound. The regular arches in the ceiling produced a kind of natural delay effect like when you know something bad is going to happen in classic horror movies. I’m sure at night I would have shit my pants, but it was peaceful during the day.

I spent a good part of the morning there walking around, climbing up the domes and taking hundreds of photos.xxxiv I’m still not sure what the domes were supposed to be for, but given the strain of utopian architecture in the area (ex. Paolo Solari’s Arcosanti)xxxv I assumed it was something along those lines. When I finally got around to digging for the records of the place, I found a deed that said the original owners were a company called Western Frontiers Apartments, which pretty much tells me everything I want to know.