F-Utility in Utah
Between 2008-10, Office of Experiments undertook research at the Center for Land Use Interpretation’s [CLUI] Wendover Research centre in Utah. The F-Utility Unit – or Field Utility Unit was originally developed as a marker and platform for viewing beyond the divisible – (see Minus Twelve by Robert Smithson). The impossibility of describing the deep temporal qualities within such incredible landscapes back in the context of the art space, links to Office of Experiments concerns with time as articulated by Smithson and CLUI in the USA, and in the conceptual work of artist such as John Latham in the UK.
F-Utility, being modular, was reconfigured over subsequent visits in order to explore in depth one of the remotest areas of the USA. As such it provided the geometry and structural ground for a range of fieldwork activities. This included Min-a Max project, erected at CLUI Wendover Test and Research Facilty, on the edge of Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah in 2009. Finally in 2010, F-Utility toured to Spiral Jetty, and was reconfigured both there and back in the UK at Chelsea Space in a project that further extended Smithson concerns with the non-site – more details over.
Fragments of the F-Utility unit continue to appear now in ongoing projects by Neal White.
Supported by the Henry Moore Foundation.
Fieldwork from the Museum of the Void.
In 2010, an exhibition in Chelsea Space(UAL, London) by Neal White further explored the legacy of Robert Smithson. Using F-Utility to link two sites (site / non-site) the exhibition not only explored the location of Spiral Jetty, but the impact of mineral extraction for organic crop fertilisers mainly in California. The impact being the draining of the pink waters that had once submerged this canonical work. A film shot in location at Spiral Jetty utilised the F-Utility Unit as a framing device and platform for articulating the emerging relationship between entropy, deep time and contemporary ecological politics (now refered to as the Anthropocene).
The exhibition also included a GPS drawing/video filmed at the original proposed site for Spiral Jetty which was still owned by Nancy Holt. Having permission to film, Going Nowhere is the recording of a cycling figure (Randy)performing a repetitive spiral ride in the heat of the desert.
Further works exhibited included ‘Towards the Divisble’ – a video of Spiral Jetty, moving forward and in reverse at varying speeds, and filmed through spectacles of the late British artist John Latham.
The Fieldwork report featured in the Catalogue for ‘Voids’ at Pompidou Centre in Paris.