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decentralizing, destabilizing «aerial aerobics» of «nomadic art.» «Spiral Jetty» was made in the spring and summer of 1970. The onehour film was not only meant to document Smithson s earth sculpture of the same name, located in the salt desert of Utah, but above all, to comment upon and recontextualize the work. This gave the film the status of an independent artwork in a larger network of aesthetic actions. In April of 1970, using over six thousand tons of earth and rock, Smithson constructed a spiral-shaped mole, or jetty, on the northeast side of the Great Salt Lake. The film was first shown at the Dwan Gallery in New York in November, 1970. It features bulldozers and dump trucks building the jetty, advancing into the red-colored water. Also seen are various cartographic materials (depicting current geography as well as prehistoric continental shifts), a car journey to a lonely desert peak, images from the movie Hall of Late Dinosaurs from the American Museum of Natural History in New York and a pile of books that were important for the conception of the project. A man (Smithson himself) walks across the finished spiral jetty, followed by the camera. At some point, the camera looks up and
helicopter noises begin. The camera spirals upward, as Smithson continues to walk, stumble, and hop to the end of the approximately 470-meter high structure; the evening sun breaks through, the camera winks at it, all possible light conditions are seen. The sunlight at the end of the film echoes the explosions of the sun seen at the beginning of the film; the last shot is of the editing room, where the film was cut. On the wall hangs a photo of the earth sculpture Spiral Jetty; the camera zooms in on it. Off-camera sounds vehicles, helicopters, and Smithson s voice are added to the film. Smithson reads aloud from scientific, cartographic, and literary works. This additional discursive layer fuses with the layer of visual film material, which comes from different sources and has a different status. In this way, various discursive fields are contrasted and connected in a collage-like fashion, becoming that «pile of language,» which, for Smithson, attests to the crude materiality of the discursive.