Spiral Jetty

1970, 35 min, color, sound, 16 mm film on video

The film Spiral Jetty is a "portrait" of Smithson's monumental earthwork of the same name at Rozel Point in the Great Salt Lake, Utah. Completed in April 1970, Spiral Jetty is an iconic earthwork and Smithson's most renowned piece. At 1500 feet long and 15 feet wide, Smithson's spiral of basalt rocks, mud, and salt crystals juts out from the shore and coils dramatically into luminous red water. The film documents the making of this earthwork, which has attained near-mythic status as it has disappeared and then re-emerged from the lake over the past decades. A voiceover by Smithson illuminates the ideas and processes that informed the evolution of the work, with allusions to prehistoric relics and radical notions of space, scale and landscape. Poetic and oddly hypnotic, the film includes stunning aerial footage of Smithson running along the length of the glowing spiral in what seems like an ecstatic ritual. The film Spiral Jetty, together with a series of photoworks taken during the construction of the earthwork, have become integral parts of the overall project.

After years of deterioration caused by natural entropic forces, Spiral Jetty was acquired by the Dia Foundation as a gift from the Smithson estate in 1999.

Camera: Robert Fiore, Nancy Holt, Robert Logan, Robert Smithson. Sound: Robert Fiore, Robert Logan. Editing: Barbara Jarris.


In exhibition, this work should be presented in a cinematic situation, i.e. a projection contained in its own room, preferably projected onto a screen, in a black box gallery, with seating provided, and posted start times. The sound must be played out through speakers; headphones are not permitted. Please contact the office for further information.
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Ordering & Fees

Educational Rental
Screening Rental
Digital File
BetaSP, DVcam, MiniDV NTSC
BetaSP, DVcam, MiniDV PAL
Exhibition Rental
Digital File
Educational Purchase
Archival Purchase
Digital Beta NTSC
Digital Beta PAL

See also