This October 23, 25, and 28, from 11am to 2pm, come visit Desperate Holdings Real Estate & LandMind Spa for a facial!

To book your facial, please email:

During this exclusive three day event, Desperate Holdings will be housed under a tent on Oscar Grant Plaza. Come for a visit and get a one-and-only Luxury Real Estate Facial FOR FREE (if you are one of the first 12 people to sign up!). Whether you live in a tent, an illegal sublet, under a rapacious landlord, or have a mortgage on a closet, we want to share the only land we have with you, on your face. By wearing the clay, which contains land value beyond money and outside of ownership, you will absorb the ancient organic awareness that the housing market is not the best way of determining who gets to have a home and who will die on the street. We think that getting a ‘local’ facial using this clay may help you face the necessity to develop new personal and collective practices for survival, cooperation and co-housing.

You may leave feeling fresh, but also dirty, because you live on land. You may absorb what land is, and that the land you live with is not some dead commodity– it has been tended by the Ohlone people for millenia.

Our real estate, which is about 10 gallons of clay harvested from underneath the financial district of San Francisco, is the last real San Francisco Real Estate you can touch. Our facials include a face massage, a steam cleaning, an exfoliating Desperate Holdings Real Estate Mask™ (made of REAL San Francisco real estate), a poetry reading, and a moisturizing treatment. Appointments last 45 minutes, and the readings will come from our newly published “Look Book!” called: Desperate Holdings (un) Real Estate: Dis-Investment Manual, published by Tripwire Press. To book your appointment, please email:

About the project:

In 2015 Cassie Thornton, recently displaced from her San Francisco apartment, walked past the Salesforce Tower construction site in downtown San Francisco. Construction workers were digging a very deep hole, as if to make a stable foundation for Salesforce’s very tall tower, with luxury offices for the largest number of private sector workers in the Bay Area. The female construction worker offered Cassie and her friend a truckload of the old bay clay that they were digging out from 200 feet below the financial district, which they would otherwise send to a toxic dump. The construction workers were digging extra deep to insure that this tower would not sink or crack the way the Millenium Tower had, a building which the soft and sumptuous San Francisco Bay land had absorbed on its own terms.

Cassie opened Desperate Holdings Real Estate & LandMind Spa on 15th Street in Oakland, inside of Dream Farm Commons Gallery in spring of 2019. This real estate agency and a spa in one aimed to offer clients a chance to get a facial or other spa service using the clay from under the Salesforce Tower. Each of the services was designed and practiced by a different local organizer, artist or healer, including Tara Spalty, HUMANS HAVE PREDATORS, Danielle Wright, Sarah Rowe, Ann Schnake, and Lindsay Tunkl.

This project poses the idea that all people are living in some kind of isolation, and while everyone is in search of a better sense of belonging and home, the best way to find that is not individually, using the market. We must interact with land and people outside of the market, below sky high rents, beyond rapacious landlords and municipally supported luxury housing developments, against competition and selfies, and based on the ideas and leadership of Indigenous people who have tended the land for 15,000 years.

About the artist: 

Cassie Thornton is an artist & feminist economist living and working in Thunder Bay, Ontario and Oakland, CA. She is also referred to as the Feminist Economics Department (the FED).

“Over the past decade I have worked primarily in the field of social practice, engaging with the way debt affects the imagination. I have worked with large and small groups in the United States and abroad to orchestrate collective rituals and practices for understanding how unpayable debt and financial suffering encodes itself in our bodies and our relationships.”

Desperate Holdings Real Estate & LandMind Spa is part of Pro Arts @ the commons program of Pro Arts, and is made possible in part with funds by The National Endowment of the Arts, The Clorox Company Foundation, The Zellerbach Family Foundation, and The Fleishhacker Foundation.

Pro Arts @ the commons program is carried out in partnership with the City of Oakland Public Art Program.