Writings by Nancy Holt

Holes of Light

Nancy Holt
1973

1. Concrete vs. Ephemeral

Light, like sight, can be channeled, controlled so that shapes of light can materialize. In Holes of Light these shapes of contained light were outlined on the wall in pencil giving them even more of a physical presence, so that even when the light or sight is absent, a trace remains.

2. Light as the Concretization of Sight

Pine Barrens

Nancy Holt
1975

“Oh yeah, I take walks pretty near every day. I just come back from taking a walk. I didn’t see anything today, just a few birds, that’s about all.”

“A Piney is a person who’s lived in the Pines all their life and seldom ever goes to a city, because we don’t care for the city. There’s too many people there. We like to be more alone, you know. I’m not cutting the city down or nothin’ like that, but here you got open spaces, you got a tree to go to if you know what I mean, and stuff like that.”

Sun Tunnels

Nancy Holt
1977

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.

The Dialectics of Locator with Spotlight and Sunlight

Nancy Holt
1972

1. Artificial Light vs. Natural Light.

2. Stasis vs. Change: The light intensity of the spotlight remains constant while the sunlight grows brighter or dimmer depending on the time of day and the weather, eventually ending in darkness after sunset when only a dark hole in the window and an oval of light on the wall remain.

The Time Being (For Robert Smithson)

Nancy Holt
1978

For the time being, in the interim, in the course of time, from day to day, from hour to hour, until, in due time, and in the fullness of time, time endures, goes on, remains, persists, lasts, goes by, elapses, passes, flows, rolls on, flies, slips, slides, and glides by.