Study of a Dry Lake Bed

Project Location:
Bonneville Salt Flats, UT, USA

Project Date:

In Collaboration With:
Sumie Edwards
Dain Smoland

Edge Condition
Water in the Desert
Clay + Salt
Lake Bonneville
Memory / Inland Sea

We begin with excavation, looking to the clay skin of the earth to give us our next cue. In this extensive scaleless landscape, it is often difficult to know where to begin. We imagine ourselves departing from the middle of the vastness – deep in an Inland Sea whose shores receded long before we knew them.

We gather our thirst into a vessel and we hide there, seeking flatness, but finding instead that our nature is upright, and only our long shadows remain long and flat.

From there, we head back to the edges, where we can witness the quiet flatness and watch the heatwaves wash ashore.


After a certain amount of contemplation (too much)
starts to seem like a curse for surfeit of desire.
For consuming all the flora and fauna of the land
You will take rocks from the ground, and sprinkle them on your food,
And eat them. And like it.
Until you’re full of nothing so much as hunger for more.
Without knowing why until you start to become the knowing.
Start to find the sheen of salt on your temples,
your lifetime of thoughts burned off like an ocean
Leaving behind you, salt.


In this better version we avoid nuclear annihilation
By means of salt.
But it knows no modifiers
nor superlatives; there being no stronger version.
It seems somewhere the cat has lost its tooth and wanders
The darkened rooms for it. Carving it a new one of salt,
Is what you are still here to do.

By Dain Smoland