University of Southern California

CRCC Exploring Community, Worth and Life on the Slabs

Exploring Community, Worth and Life on the Slabs

Image of Exploring Community, Worth and Life on the Slabs

Slab City, an informal community built on the remains of a Marine base near the Salton Sea, served as the location for a project led by Matt Gainer. Gainer, research associate and director of the USC Digital Library, will use documentary photography and oral histories to examine how community is maintained in Slab City, a site that has no official status as place, no state supported infrastructure and no private property. The project, which was made possible by a grant from the California Council for the Humanities, will explore the impulses that lead people to live "off the map," and the methods they use to create a sense of place, value and community once they settle.

On Apr. 18, Capricious selected Gainer as their photographer of the week for his 'Imperial Pictures' series, which documented everyday life within this off-the-map community.