when my dad & i went out to see these land art pieces first hand, we started with Michael Heizer’s ‘Double Negative’, as that’s one of the destinations closer to LA. but we took it quite a bit further. out to Utah and beyond the well known Bonneville Salt Flats. of course, nearly anything can be found on the internet. it’s getting there that is sometimes still the challenge. Nancy Holt’s 'Sun Tunnels’ proved to be one of these destinations. looking back, it was a pleasant drive and a very meditative location.
created between 1973-76, the 'Sun Tunnels’ consist of 4 large concrete tunnels 18’ long and 9’ in diameter. they are arranged in an “X” configuration to total a length of 86’. the tunnels are aligned to coincide with the sunrise & sunset of the summer and winter solstice. they also provide a subtle study of the intensity of the desert sun as they are the only place to hide w/in miles. once inside the tunnels, the play of light thru varying holes can be seen when the constellations of Capricorn, Draco, Perseus and Columbo are formed on the interior walls. the diameters of the holes vary in relation to the magnitude of the stars they represent. of the tunnels, Holt said ’It’s an inversion of the sky/ground relationship-bringing the sky down to the earth.’
there’s a bit of theory on them. i can add that getting to them is a surreal experience in itself and spending the night out there, under a full moon, well … . that was something special.
Great Basin Desert, UT - 3/2010