Skywatching: Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels 

In Utah’s Great Basin Desert four concrete tubes point in the four cardinal directions: Sun Tunnels. Simple in appearance, yet complex in execution, Sun Tunnels is a philosophical reflection on time and the cycle of nature. This talk will explore the different facets of this artwork to help us to rethink our modern conceptions ‘progress’ and ‘time’. 

Nancy Holt was interested in exploring the relationship between nature and technology, and the Sun Tunnels represent her attempt to merge these two seemingly disparate worlds. The positioning of the tubes was carefully calculated to align with the movements of the sun and stars. The result is an artwork that blurs the boundaries between the natural and the man-made, inviting viewers to contemplate their place in the larger scheme of things.

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Sarah Jaffray holds a BA and MA in Art History with an emphasis in 19th/20th century France and a minor in the Italian Renaissance. She holds a second MA in Cultural Theory from Goldsmiths, University of London. Sarah was a lecturer for several colleges and universities in the Los Angeles area before relocating to London in 2012. She has worked in curatorial roles at the British Museum and Wellcome Collection. Sarah is currently a lecturer at the University of Arts London and Coordinator for City Lit’s Art History programme. Her art historical practice focuses on experimental narratives, artistic process, art pedagogy, politics and philosophy. Sarah’s current research is focused on translation and empathy.

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