Dryland Lab

MATZA Amboy is a project and a space for artistic experimentation located in the heart of the Mojave Desert in California. Amboy is taken over once a year for 3 weeks and brings together artists, social science researchers, engineers (solar energy, hydrology), architects and urban planners who share their skills and carry out experimental works or projects on site.

With the DRYLAND LAB, inaugurated in 2015, MATZA Amboy looks in particular at issues related to water and more generally to the distribution and use of natural resources. This blue gold is now one of California’s most precious resources, and the subject of debates and not a few controversies in the region. Water scarcity raises ecological and human issues, but also raises the question of its value as a common good. As such, it is impossible to study this resource without also studying the fundamentally democratic nature of the territory and the resulting dynamics of sharing and empowerment. With this as its basis, MATZA Amboy is an artistic and human experience conceived as a true laboratory of collective ideas and processes.

Amboy, rising like a Phoenix

The village of Amboy, whose population numbered more than 400 inhabitants in the Fifties, gradually began to empty after the construction of Interstate 40 further north. The trains that had until then brought drinking water no longer stopped there, condemning the place to certain death. In 2005, a new owner decided to rescue the site by purchasing it. One by one, the post office and then the gas station were reopened.

MATZA has turned Amboy into a place where artistic creation and scientific experimentation express themselves on a grand scale, stimulated by a desire to innovate and transform our relationship