I created a replica of the United States National Monument, Devils Tower, in the windows at Sight School. A volcanic neck located in Wyoming, Devils Tower was made popular through its presentation in Steven Spielberg’s 1977 film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. In the film, Richard Dreyfuss’ character, Roy, has an encounter with a UFO. He then begins to obsessively form mountainous shapes using materials such as shaving cream and mashed potatoes. Eventually, he digs up his garden to create a room-sized mountain. Through this compulsive act of creation, Roy realizes that he is in fact sculpting a specific site and is subsequently drawn to Devils Tower.
By recreating a visual element from the film, I introduced Devils Tower as a metaphor for artistic production. The impulse to create something in order to better understand it is grounds for the production of visual art. The installation addresses the idea that an object’s materialization can lead to some sort of elucidation about that object or the surrounding world. In an exploration of how meaning can be derived from an act of making, I worked on the mountain on location at Sight School.