Desperate Holdings Real Estate & LandMind Spa

Desperate Holdings Real Estate & LandMind Spa

Desperate Holdings Real Estate & LandMind Spa was a one month pop-up by the Feminist Economics Department (the FED), where we explored the meaning and future possibilities of “real estate” from a dangerous and an optimistic perspective: what will all the real estate agencies do when we are no longer buying or selling land?

Above, Desperate Holdings Real Estate & LandMind Spa, mini-doc by Ephraim Colbert

Held at Dream Farm Commons, an artist run gallery located in a storefront in downtown Oakland, California, we opened for office hours during April of 2019. This installation looked like real estate, but worked like a revolutionary spa, offering services and experiences to transform our clients’ relationship to land, home and belonging. More info below or at

Why did we do this?
In 2015 Cassie Thornton, recently displaced from her San Francisco apartment, walked past the Salesforce Tower construction site in downtown San Francisco. Workers were digging 200 ft below, where they found Barbary Coast beams and thick clay-like soil. The foreman offered her and her friend a truckload of this clay, which would otherwise be sent to a toxic dump to be sanitized in Palo Alto. Since then Thornton has reconstituted, blended, and hoarded the precious clay, as liquid real estate. “At times the clay has had a home, even when I haven’t.  The clay is beyond property, rent, and all the things that keep us from magic. If all I can do turn land into money, like any real estate agent, that is useless …. If I really had magic powers, what would this clay do?”

In this real estate office, we won’t sell property. Instead we will touch and hold liquid real estate sourced from underneath the financial district of SF as we imagine what it would mean to see land and our creative energies as a commons. The clay we share with our clients in this immersive installation holds the essence of the Bay Area. We offer the exclusive opportunity to touch, hold, or wear the last San Francisco Real Estate we could ever touch.

“This pop-up real estate office and spa has agents available to deal with your broken trust, lost hope and longing for a nonexistent stability. Bring your tight little pent up body over here and imagine what it would mean to see land and our creative energies as a commons, and vengeance as creative fuel.  Real Estate Agents and Spa Technicians played by local artists, activists and healers, will be offering services and treatments that are meant to unravel fantasies of the good life as it relates to private property ownership on stolen land. These agents will channel their own precarious financial survival to help you heal your broken potential for finding escape, security or shelter. Treatments and services will be offered by Yasmin Golan, Sarah Rowe, Ann Schnake, Tara Spalty, Cassie Thornton, Lindsay Tunkl, and Danielle Wright.”