Thursday, December 15, 2016

Earthworks Observational Kits on the Website

Amarillo Ramp, 2015 - 2016
Wooden box, trowel to bury a significant object at the site, cotton to replace the teddy bear innards strewn on nearby cacti, gloves and pruner to trim overgrown shrubbery, rocks from Spiral Jetty, Sun Tunnels, Double Negative, Roden Crater, The Lightning Field and Amarillo Ramp

In March 2015, I discovered a photograph of James Turrell’s Roden Crater Field Kit (2000). The oak box, reminiscent of a portable desk from the 19th century, contains instruments used by surveyors, a rock from the location, documents, and maps. I was drawn to Turrell’s idea that other materials were necessary to fully understand an earthwork (and the absurdity that this was the way it should be seen).

While visiting Amarillo Ramp, The Lightning Field, Double Negative, Sun Tunnels and Spiral Jetty in the year and half that followed, I took note of what would have enriched my experience. The objects are those that I wished I had brought, those that were used to perform an action at the site, and those that were culled from the caretakers’ stories. Surprisingly, many focus on cleaning and upkeep – the antithesis of the entropy that some of the artists desired. In the end, Roden Crater makes an appearance, though its observation, due to great cost and inaccessibility, is highly unlikely.

Special acknowledgement to Andy Traub for transforming my crude sketches into three-dimensional boxes, Laurie Blakeslee for gifting me the Golden Guide books from her personal collection, Hannah Barnes for her assistance with the watercolors, and Nate Larson for suggesting that bubbles were the ideal way to interact with Sun Tunnels (he was right, you should try it).

Check out the rest of the kits here

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