|Dissipate Michael Heizer, 1968|
The noteworthy thing to me about this piece is not the iconic image but the unseen excavation, the desert removed. The dust from the excavation may even have produced a dune somewhere else on the playa. Space, itself, is excavated. The by-product is dust.
But what sort of space is excavated here? We can think of this space as a sound-space. Sound, in the desert, carries far. However the desert lacks features for sound to reflect or cavities for sound to resonate. Sound simply dissipates.
To lie down in one of these depressions--to occupy the negative space--seems to counter the notion of dissipating. If we could occupy them, the little steel coffins that they are, we might just appreciate the sound of the desert in a new way. The sound would be colored by Cor-Ten steel. The dimensions of the voids would allow certain frequencies to be amplified and resonate. The limitless expanse of desert sound suddenly would become measured, sculpted, solid.