Hey Brian,
Hope you don't mind, but from here on out I’m going to refer to you as George. For some reason I just think it will be easier. Referring to you by a name that also happens to be my own has just… Well, it’s always felt weird for me. I'd say it's comparable to looking down upon the world from my 6'2" stature, but being around folks of somewhat equal or greater height, I'm automatically taken out of my element and comfort zone.
So... um, George-oh my, funny how much simpler that feels-it's been some time since I went anywhere after the cross country road trip I met you on, but thanks to a cousin's wedding in Utah next month I'm finally going to be getting out of town and away from all the non-stress of my life that still somehow adversely shows in my shoddy shoulder, chest and forehead complexion.

Thing of it is, I've always had this desire to see this giant earthwork 'Spiral Jetty' by the artist Robert Smithson, but it was always something I never thought I'd have the opportunity to go and see. I mean, when and or why would I -or anyone else for that matter- have a need or any real reason to go to Utah, right?
I don't know if you appreciate art or not, so I won't bore you with Smithson's finer, fascinating ideas of entropy and impermanence as it pertained to his art, but 'Spiral Jetty' is a gigantic 'sculpture' that-at the moment-extends out from a northern shore of the Great Salt lake. I first saw it in an art appreciation textbook-Henry Sayre's 'A World of Art'- and from then on it's always been a source of intrigue.
For instance, when Smithson went out to the lake he didn’t even have anything in mind to create, let alone know if he was going to be able to find a place to create what ‘wasn’t’ even in his mind.

He only had the idea some of the water on the Great Salt Lake might be red like other salt bodies of water he had read/heard of and was attracted to; his having a desire to create something incorporating a juxtaposition with such phenomena. In fact, the idea of the initial jetty itself apparently only presented to him after he finally found a piece of shoreline meeting the  criteria he was looking for. To that end, the final version of the jetty wasn’t even the image he first had; or a complete spiral for that matter. It was more like a hook with a big ball of dirt on the end for a barb, but that particular inception wasn’t something he was satisfied with-you cant even really find pictures of it- so he ended up bringing the original contractor and equipment operators back to the site to further curl the jetty into the ‘spiral’ it is now.

Would you get a load of me? You’d think I was passionate about someone else’s work. Who knows, maybe I am, albeit it feels a lot more like… jealous fascination. It makes me think about what I want to accomplish with my life and if I am anywhere close to even discovering what it might be or how I am even going to do so.

How late is too late to throw in the towel on figuring it out before committing to some soul sucking job you abhor with all your being. ( I suppose that assumes all jobs do so.)
How soon is too soon to throw in the towel?

I sometimes wonder if I am not already doing it, but just not making any money as of yet (as if that is the ultimate measure or value of what any given person is doing with their life.)

Other times I consider the idea some of us can't find it regardless our searching. Then there is also the fear of finding it only to discover it was or will only be in our lives for a few fleeting moments.
(Nothing being permanent and all.)

I suppose in Smithson's case I'm also in awe of the fact he seemed to have things figured out in his life, his purpose and passion anyway. There is also something iconically American about blindly adventuring out into the unknown armed only with the aim of seeing if there happens to be a place where you feel you can pursue your calling.

It’s a quality I almost can't imagine someone being in possession of anymore, especially knowing his trip produced something I’ve read is of such an eminent scale pictures distort any real concept of its size. And the whole thing is just something he did to create a work of art; something in the realistic scheme of things serves no real pragmatic purpose on the lake outside... being created and existing. ( I write that as if suddenly I’ve been able to resolve a synthesis of Dewey’s work with aesthetics and pragmatism; as if mashing those two together into a form of cohabitation is even possible.)

Philosophy musings aside, all I know is something has kept the jetty in my mind all these years, as if there's some universal reason I’ve ascribed it so much significance. Couple that with so few people-even artist types-seeming to know of it or Smithson and its relevance and need to be visited (only) compounds (for me).

I would go out and see Sun Tunnels by his wife Nancy Holt, but that earthwork really is out in the middle of nowhere, Utah. 'Really' not being used as a means to imply there is literally a place called 'Nowhere' Utah,

Who knows, maybe I'll go out and see it anyway. What else am I doing with my life and time beside asking a bunch of questions that have no real answers, you know? Like a regular Milo trapped in the unanimated Doldrums, George.

Maybe it will be about as close to that sense of adventure-I was previously referring to-as I can get; its position at a desolate location away from civilization and cell reception about as disconnected as a person in our times can get. Because what is true adventure without a certain amount of potential (danger) and fear involved?
Should problems arise, with my car for instance, I will quite literally be alone and stranded.
On a Desert Basin no one visits in a state no one really goes to

no less.

Interestingly enough, unbeknownst to me, I recently discovered I had actually walked through Nancy Holt’s ‘Dark Star Park’ in Rosslyn, VA on my way to visit the Iwo Jima monument before meeting up with you last year. While I did spend some time looking at and trying to take in the work-not just passing by and casually noting its existence-as amazing as it is, I feel as if had I known at the time she was Robert Smithson’s wife I probably would have taken longer to enjoy or really soak in what it had to offer.

Not that I feel too bad though. I soaked in a lot more of it than I would have say… even a year ago... or a year before that, I mean.

On the whole though, I think Dark Star is probably much more elaborate in its execution than Sun Tunnels.

">
CHANNILLO

Brian (w)'s Sixth Letter to Brian (e) (1)
Series Info | Table of Contents

Hey Brian,
Hope you don't mind, but from here on out I’m going to refer to you as George. For some reason I just think it will be easier. Referring to you by a name that also happens to be my own has just… Well, it’s always felt weird for me. I'd say it's comparable to looking down upon the world from my 6'2" stature, but being around folks of somewhat equal or greater height, I'm automatically taken out of my element and comfort zone.
So... um, George-oh my, funny how much simpler that feels-it's been some time since I went anywhere after the cross country road trip I met you on, but thanks to a cousin's w...

Please subscribe to keep reading.

Table of Contents

Series Info