Hi Johannes (and all),
I obviously can't speak for Jon regarding Spiral Jetty. I myself do
consider it "time-based" and also "interactive" on a number of
scales. This synoptic video edit seems relevant:
Timewise there is:
Time it took his practice to lead him to make the jetty
Time it took him to make it (logistically, legally, financially, physically)
Time it took him produce the 30 minute video documentation
Time it takes "the viewer" to move her body to the center of the jetty and back
Time of the daily tides
Time "the viewer" spends on the jetty -- feet dry, feet partially
wet, body wet up to the knees, etc.
Time of the seasons within the year
Time of the years/decades over the last decades of the century
Bergsonian subjective time (non-Cartesian compass time) invoked by
the spiral form, enforcing qualitative scalar heterogenity and
undermining quantitative homogenous partitioning.
The "decades time" scale opens up onto the recent issues of "cultural
forces" wanting to use that part of the lake for resources -- an
issue that the work anticipated. Like other Dia-sponsored work
established in perpetuity (De Maria's Earth Room, Young's Dream
House), the "preservational" aspects of the work aren't para-art.
They are purposefully folded into the art as part of its concept.
regarding "interactivity" (whatever that word means), the time at
which the "user" chooses to visit the piece (high tide or low tide),
the speed at wich the user moves her body through the piece, the time
she remains with the piece -- all of these are "interactive controls"
that radically alter the user's experience of the piece. If the user
chooses to fly over the piece, again she is "interacting" with it in
an entirely different way. The piece purposefully opens itself up to
multiple levels of user control.
Furthermore (returning to the question of "who" as it relates to
artist/audience), Smithson as the artist "collaborates" with the
Great Salt Lake. In so doing, he yields a portion of artistic
"control" to a non-human system that outlives him -- purposefully
opening the piece up to large scales of time.
Spiral Jetty is like The Black Factory in that both are aware of and
intentionally foreground the inherent weaknesses/biases of
institutional art preservation strategies. Both are accomplishing
more than "mere" institutional critique; nevertheless there is an
implicit critique of institutional preservation folded into both
>For those of you interested in this, W.B. Worthen has written an
>excellent reponse: "Antigone's Bones" (TDR/The Drama Review Fall
>2008, Vol. 52, No. 3 (T199): 10-33.) which complicates the
>relationships between archive/repertoire, and it seems to me that it
>is fascinating to look at time (the Utah salt lake? the clouds over
>Wyoming or over Super Mario?), and ask again what "real-time" means
>in a non technical (computational) sense, if indeed you think
>Smithson's earth art was a time-based piece and then how to you
>compare it to the "Black Factory"? or to Jon Ippolito's controllable
>art? would Spiral Jetty disappoint Jon as it is not controllable?