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By William L. Fox


PART 1: Out West
1 Targeting
2 Earthworks
3 The Pit . . .
4 . . . and the Stack
5 The Horizontal City
6 The Angels of Mulholland Drive
7 Surveillance


PART 2: again East
8 Time Flies By
9 The Sep 11 Trail
10 The Vertical City
11 flooring Truth


PART three: Down Under
12 Mount Kosciuszko: 2,228 Meters (7,310 Feet)
13 Pennyroyal
14 Lake Eyre: forty nine toes lower than Sea Level
15 Lake Eyre: 4,500 ft Above Sea Level
16 Alice Springs
17 Over Canberra . . . and la

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Looking out over the Great Salt Lake, Mike comments: “It’s more vast here than the Black Rock because of the water—the ground reflects the sky. ” The Lucin cutoff splits this enormous mirror into two parts of unequal salinity, a saltier northern portion and a less salty southern one. The former part is red with algae, the latter green with plankton, and scientists now monitor the biotic activity from above with satellite images. The causeway is exactly why Smithson chose to explore the nearby eastern shoreline as a site for Spiral Jetty.

Light’s father, a bombardier during World War II, was blown out of an airplane during a mission over France, and the photographer has been blessed or plagued with dreams of that event since childhood. Plagued in that the dreams are not always comfortable, sometimes downright terrifying. But blessed because they have provided him with an inexhaustible muse. His father survived, by the way, his parachute opening just in time to prevent his death. This mid-April morning we are flying out of Wendover, a small town on the Nevada-Utah border where Interstate 80 debouches from the mountains to the west and enters the longest stretch of straight pavement in the entire national system of freeways.

And size has always mattered to him. The largest structures in the world, from the pyramids to the Three Gorges Dam to the American interstate system, are all made of earth, be it stone, mud, or concrete. Heizer, who lives in south central Nevada where he is constructing City, the largest single artwork on the planet, was born in 1944 to Robert F. Heizer, a prominent anthropologist who specialized in how early cultures moved large stones. The senior Heizer taught at the University of California, Berkeley, but Michael spent much of his childhood accompanying his father to excavations in Nevada, Mexico, Peru, and Bolivia, along the way experiencing the joys of conducting aerial surveys, digging in the dirt with everything from toothbrushes to bulldozers, and picking up a vocabulary of sculptural shapes from places as varied as Karnak, the ancient burial city of the Egyptians, to La Venta, where the Olmecs constructed ceremonial ball courts.

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