Robert Smithson began constructing the Spiral Jetty in 1970 and would die just three years after its completion. His death would roughly coincide with a period of submersion, during which the jetty was covered by the water level of the Great Salt Lake for decades at a time. Forty-three years later the Spiral Jetty is exposed and visited daily–appreciated not just as a local monument, but as an earthwork for a new generation to contemplate.

We received a phone call from VideoWest producer Elaine Clark. She asked if we wanted to go to the Spiral Jetty and make a short doc with Julian Sands (who was in town for his one man “Celebration of Harold Pinter” show). We obliged. But, instead of taking the natural vehicular approach and leaving at 3 AM in order to get to the Spiral Jetty location and return in time for Mr. Sands’ flights, we enlisted a helicopter and the commute to the shoot became a 30 minute rendezvous.

We arrived at the airport before sunrise and headed straight to pick up Mr. Sands. This proved difficult, when the access gate was locked. Nevertheless, Mr. Sands tossed us up his bag and scaled the fence (and the razor wire!) with ease, earning instant cred with our team.