Selected Writings

Report from Spiral Jetty in Utah

On the day of August, I left Arcosanti, where I interned, and came here, the Great Salt Lake. I really wanted to see Spiral Jetty by Robert Smithson, and the time has come!

I drove from Arcosanti in Arizona. It took almost 11 hours to come here, Salt Lake City. On that day, I stayed at Youth Hostel and the next morning, I started to drive to go to the north side of Great Salt Lake. It is 40miles away from Salt Lake City. My schedule was to drive 2 hours, see the Jetty, and go back to Arcosanti. However, tragedy happened.

While I was driving my car on highway, suddenly the car stopped. So I pulled over the car at the median of the highway. The car brinks the sign of engine trouble, so I opened the bonnet of the car. However, I cannot find anything. I called my, and then, I called Triple A car service. The reason of this engine trouble was over mileage, and it ended up paying $1770. It was crazy!

So,I rented the other car and hit the road again, to see Spiral Jetty. The way to go there was very rough, and hard to find. No one knows Spiral Jetty in Utah, then I realized that this is famous only among the art people. However, the Spiral Jetty was incredible.

Overview of Spiral Jetty

Spiral Jetty is located on the north side of Great Salt Lake, and it is far from the any other building, probably more than 10 miles. After you drive this dirt road, you can see the jetty, with strong rotten smell of the Great Salt Lake. I was worried whether this is under the water level or not, but it was higher than the water level, and I could walk on this Jetty.

Detail of Spiral Jetty

This jetty is all covered by salt, and it was so white. The funny thing is that the shape of salt is similar to the shape of polyp or small penis, and it reminds me the soft sculpture of Yayoi Kusama.

Center of Jetty

While I was walking toward the end of this jetty, means the center of the circle, I felt something like an illusion, whether I was walking to the top of it or returning to the base of it. At the center of it, I sat and rest for a while. It was such a quiet moment. Only what I can hear is the sound of wind and the rippling of the lake. I could imagine that Robert Smithson, Nancy Holt and Richard Serra were making this jetty with slight hope, possibility and confidence. These black stones which were carried by them crystallized the natural salt of the lake in the last 33years, and melt into the natural view of all white Great Salt Lake. In fact, I tried to move the small stone of this jetty, but the unison of this salt and stone was so strong, and I couldn’t move it.

Crystal of Salt

I tried the taste of Spiral Jetty. I licked the top of this hard sculpture, and I noticed… so salty! It was a real taste of salt, with many minerals, and also bacteria, probably. In many countries, because of the law, people do not know the taste of real salt, because the edible salt means NaCl, just the symbol of the element. However, the real salt has a taste of mineral, and I could tell the mineral taste of this salt. In Tibet, they have a high mineral salt from Himalaya since it was under the sea millions of years ago, and Dalai Lama likes to put salt into the coffee. I didn’t try to make the coffee from this salt, but it might be an interesting taste.

I also played with this salt lake for a while, and after that, my hand was fully covered by salt when it dried. It was a funny experience. When I mixed this sheet of salt, it reflected the sunlight, and it was beautiful.


When I returned to the car, I saw the big flock of pelicans in the sky. They ware traveling from east to west, and the V shape of this flock was so mysterious. Such as Smithson tried to find the law of nature by fractal or entropy, there are many orders such as this V shape. I don’t know the dimension of this natural phenomenon, but probably it would exist, such as the number of snowflake curve’s 1.2618.

Shadow on the surface of Great Salt Lake

Spiral Jetty was hard to see, but it is worth to see.