Mono Lake

Robert Smithson
Mono Lake, California, USA
8 mm film and Instamatic slides, color, sound
Duration: 19 minutes, 54 seconds

Mono Lake is an artwork by Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt.

Using a combination of 8 mm film and Instamatic slides, ​Mono Lake ​documents Smithson, Holt, and fellow artist Michael Heizer as they explore one of the oldest lakes in North America. The film is both a nostalgic home video of the young artists’ road trip, and an exposition of the lake’s striking singularity. Heizer and Smithson read facts about the site’s geology, indigenous history, and unique ecosystem over a disparate musical score.


Scholarly Text

Mono Lake: Ring of Fire

Aurora Tang

At any location on earth, as the rock record goes down into time and out into earlier geographies it touches upon tens of hundreds of stories, wherein the face of the earth often changed, changed utterly, and changed again, like the face of a crackling fire. 1

–John McPhee

See Also