One of many preliminary drawings for Smithson’s most famous work, Spiral Jetty, this particular sketch calls attention to the striking red hue of Great Salt Lake. The color is a result of salt-tolerant algae and bacteria, a feature that reminded Smithson of the primordial sea. While the drawing appears as a simplified plan for the iconic earthwork, it is not merely a means to an end. Rather, this sketch—along with countless others—exemplifies Smithson’s ongoing meditation on the infinitude of time, change, and spiritual desire as represented by the spiral form.
Spiral Jetty [film]
Featuring Smithson’s earthwork of the same name, Spiral Jetty is an artistic endeavor of its own identity. Juxtaposing the industrial violence of Spiral Jetty’s construction with the peaceful beauty of its surrounds, the film provides an ambivalent, disorienting perspective of Smithson’s earthwork. A jarring ambient soundscape and readings from a conglomeration of texts underscore footage of the site, which is intercut with shots of maps, books, and at one point, a dinosaur exhibit. History, geology, and philosophy blend together, ultimately giving way to a visceral experience of Spiral Jetty.