Sun Tunnels [film]

Nancy Holt
Color, sound, 16 mm film on HD video
Duration: 26 minutes 31 seconds

This film illustrates moments from of the construction of Holt’s iconic earthwork, ​Sun Tunnels, ​ Holt’s accompanying film is both documentation and an independent moving image work. The mammoth undertaking unfolds as a series of moments, from the mundanity of shoveling dirt by hand, to the tense magnitude of a concrete tunnel suspended mid-air. The film reaches a beautiful conclusion in a display of the dance between the sunlight, the tunnels, and the desert surrounds at various times of day.


Writings by Nancy Holt

Sun Tunnels

Nancy Holt

Sun Tunnels, 1973–76, is built on forty acres, which I bought in 1974 specifically as a site for the work. The land is in the Great Basin Desert in northwestern Utah, about four miles southeast of Lucin (pop. ten) and nine miles east of the Nevada border.

Sun Tunnels marks the yearly extreme positions of the sun on the horizon—the tunnels being aligned with the angles of the rising and setting of the sun on the days of the solstices, around June 21st and December 21st. On those days the sun is centered through the tunnels, and is nearly center for about ten days before and after the solstices.

Related Info

See Also