My last and final Earthwork that I visited on my trip was the Lightning Field. This work was created by Walter De Maria and commissioned by the Dia Foundation who to this day maintains the work and sets up visitation to the piece. The first two photos are of the Dia office in Quemado, NM. This is where the photos stop unfortunately, because the Lightning Field is a protected copyrighted work.
The visit starts out by arriving to the Dia office in Quemado then waiting for a truck to pick you up and take you to the work. After the truck arrives you pile in everything you will need for the night, because you are housed in a cabin that is located right near the work. The cabin houses 6 people at a time. My visit included one other girl and myself. It was the perfect amount of people we both later agreed. The drive is about 45 minutes on some unpleasant bumpy roads. After driving for awhile and looking at the beautiful scenery I finally saw that we were approaching. We came upon the cabin and the 400 stainless steel poles. The driver dropped us off and showed us the cabin and then said I'll pick you up tomorrow afternoon, then she left. For the next 24 hours it was just Tanja, myself the cabin and most importantly the work in the middle of nowhere.
So let me explain what the Lightning Field is.. The work consists of 400 stainless steel poles with pointed tips that form a grid within the land. The total dimensions are 1 mile x 1 kilometer. There are 25 poles running East to West and 16 poles running North to South, all evenly spaced 220 feet from each other within each row and are about 20 feet tall. The work is suppose to attract lightning when storms are crossing the desert. That is just one part of the work.
The experience of the work takes place in the Lightning Field. As you make your way into the Lightning Field you find yourself placed within this large grid that connects you to the surrounding environment. The natural landscape and extremely high elevation adds to the physical experience as you weave through the grid. The work seems to change in scale through the contact of other individuals within the large landscape. At times Tanja and I would be quite close in proximity and then all of a sudden be to far away to see each other. This allowed for the perception of scale to be heightened. The grid kept us in contact to a specific dimension within the land. The poles acted as place markers and were so structurally organized. As you stood in front of a single pole and gazed down the row you found how perfectly in line they actually are, it was quite amazing. The experience of the work addresses the time space continuum that is at hand. The experience of sleeping in a cabin in the middle of nowhere right upon the work with a stranger whom you get to know within the time of your visit is completely surreal and rewarding. The isolation allows you let go of everything and to fully take in the work, land, sky and people.
Ceramicist, artist, traveler. Until the funds run out.