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Themesicon: navigation pathArt and Cinematographyicon: navigation pathDeserts of the Political

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such metaphors would take one through the false mirror of eternity.»[50] The pitiful sandbox (»an open grave«) represents an absent, dystopian desert, robbed of all transcendental or ideal aspects.

Smithson and Deleuze

The last shot in the «Spiral Jetty» film shows the editing room, which contains viewing and editing machines, dangling strips of film, and a large photograph of the jetty in the background. Smithson writes that editors Bob Fiore and Barbara Jarvis (who were also making their own films and were active in the political art discussions of those years in New York) examined the raw, unedited film as if they were «paleontologists» and «Neanderthals» at the same time. «One is transported by this Archeozoic medium into the earliest known geological eras.»[51] »The visual image becomes archeological, stratigraphic, and tectonic,» writes Gilles Deleuze in Cinema 2: The Time Image.[52] It is very tempting to try to directly connect Smithson and Deleuze. However, when Deleuze says that the «separate» or «empty» spaces of the modern cinema display geological layers, are sedimentary


images, he would immediately deny that we are being referred back to «prehistory.» He believes it has more to do with «deserted layers of our time.»[53] In opposition, for Smithson, film and photography are discursive, material, transport media, in a literal sense, to be used to reach an age of futuristic cavemen. In the best case, they can be used to reconstruct (or first create) the timelessness, infinite space, and emptiness, all of which appears to be unattainable in the wilderness a place that has long been merely an image anyway. Yet Smithson is enough of a realist to know that a single film cannot attain this. Which is why a film like Spiral Jetty also functions like a translation, a map, a blueprint (strongly recalling, in turn, the cartographic maneuvers that measure surfaces in Deleuze s thinking). Smithson does the groundwork for a fictionalization that takes place elsewhere. As a filmmaker, too, Smithson is always thrown back upon his own proliferate, disintegrating, elliptical, tangled, sometimes confusing, theoretical fiction of the cinema of cavemen, or the desert people. External references are employed in order to insure the self-sufficiency of this fiction; yet at the same time, the film s boundaries

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