Salton Sea: Decomp Zen

This lil’ ode to the beauty of decomposition and decay is the first video that your mortician has shot and edited all by her lonesome.

It is my firm belief that a human life is improved by observing and reflecting upon the decay constantly going on around us, whether it be a decomposing corpse or a decaying building.

The subject I chose was one of my favorite places in all the land, the Salton Sea, a massive body of water in the middle of the California desert.  The Salton Sea was originally intended to be the next Palm Springs.  In the 1960’s was host to Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr and everyone was water skiing and drinking martinis on the beach and having a grand old time with their fancy resort type activities.  But over the years the sea got saltier and toxins built up in the sediment, which resulted in a lack of oxygen in the water.  The Salton Sea is now somewhat of a desert, Mad Max style outpost.  Every year there are massive fish and bird die offs. The resorts have decayed and there are trailer parks lining the water.

The video was shot all along the shores of the Salton Sea, on my birthday, alone.  I don’t particularly enjoy my birthday and haven’t celebrated it for years, so this was not the lonesome tragedy you’re picturing.  The temperature was well (well) over 100 degrees, and since I am a bit of a Victorian maiden, I almost hit the fish corpse covered sand HARD more than once.  But I emerged alive, and grateful to have seen such beauty in such extremes.

The music in the video was done by Seth Nemec, synth savant.  Since our relationship and collaborations have gone through numerous cycles of decay and rebirth, he seemed like the ideal choice.

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  • Randy Smith

    Great stuff! I love the strange post apocolyptic beauty of the Salton Sea. I’ve been there to photograph birds in the winter (pelicans use it as a place to teach young birds how to fly and fish) Frankly I was a little scared to venture too near to the delapidated trailers and the like, but I really think you’ve done a great job with the film. Congrats!

  • Dr. Dementor

    Again, the historical perspective is intriguing, Caitlin. This is a place I’ve only seen through the window on flights to San Diego, thinking how out of place it seemed. I like the feeling you create; a connection to what once was. A sad death for the early 60’s hipsters that once visited, but a good death for the celebration of what once was. @Randy  “post-apocolyptic beauty” nails the essence of that connection to the dead past.

  • I love your little film! i was searching to see what else was out there — i just posted my take on it: Gotta say, you were brave to go in those buildings, i found many places pretty creepy!