Levitated Mass

Levitated Mass

Levitated Mass: The Story of Michael Heizer’s Monolithic Sculpture

directed by Doug Pray

starring Michael Heizer

Electric City Entertainment

Is a rock art? Is moving a rock art? Is making a movie about moving a rock art? No, maybe, and yes would be my initial guesses, but perceptions can be changed by film. Out in the desert east of L.A. in a private quarry a large rock is pried loose by high explosives and diesel power. Artist Michel Heizer has been looking for a 340 ton monster like this since the 1968, and he’s got a bold project in mind: move this rock to downtown L.A. and install it at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The logistics are incredible, beginning with fundraising and moving to approvals and then the sheer mechanical effort to move this rock through one of the most built up places in America. Heizer’s specialty is monumental art involving construction equipment and the movement of soil, land and mountains. His works will never tour, but you might tour to see them. Like all conceptual art, the art itself is not as interesting as the reaction it draws, and that’s where this story shines.

The fund raising was surprisingly easy, Heizer has fans and they can write these sorts of checks. The permitting process was much more challenging. A rock of this mass can’t roll over any old bridge or underpass; its route took it on a winding 100 mile journey all the way down to Long beach and through 20 plus municipalities, each with its own bureaucracies and none set up to deal with art projects of this magnitude. The process of mounting and moving this rock is worthy of a Discovery Channel special and the public reaction ranges from awe to incredulity. We meet custom bicycle riders and mostly pickled bar flies along the way, couple proposes and parents hold up small children. There’s drama as well, a transmission fails and the rock is danger of “running away” in the dangerous Chino hills. It’s theatrical in magnitude and human in scope and here we have a Slice of Life as a Slice of Art, and that’s what good art makes you do: examine and re-examine your perceptions and opinions. I like the rock where it is, let’s see if it lasts. Even 340 tons of Art can be surprisingly ephemeral.

This film is part of the 2014 Florida Film Festival running April 4 to 14 in Orlando Fl. Details, screening locations and times may be found at www.floridafilmfestival.com.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Say Sue Me
    Say Sue Me

    Christmas, It’s No Biggie (Damnably Records). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Lucius

    Christmas Time is Here. Review by Phil Bailey.

  • Tarik Aktaş
    Tarik Aktaş

    Dead Horse Nebula director, Tarik Aktaş, speaks with Generoso Fierro about his AFI Fest 2018-selected debut feature.

  • Beth Hart
    Beth Hart

    Beth Hart – Live At The Royal Albert Hall (Mascot Label Group/Provogue). Review by Michelle Wilson.

  • Nailed It!
    Nailed It!

    Is it a cooking show, or the funniest thing on TV?

  • Split Tooth
    Split Tooth

    The natural and the supernatural dance under the Northern lights in Tanya Tagaq’s first novel, Split Tooth.

  • Thoroughbreds

    Thoroughbreds is one of the most fun and playful dark comedies in ages.

  • Dennis Quaid & the Sharks
    Dennis Quaid & the Sharks

    Out Of The Box. (Omnivore) Review by Jeremy Glazier.

  • Florida Man Music Festival
    Florida Man Music Festival

    The Florida Man Music Festival lit up the Orlando Amphitheater with a bunch of acts chosen by FM 101.9 (Orlando’s New Alternative radio station). Jen Cray approved.

  • The Unnamable
    The Unnamable

    This ’80s adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s short story The Unnamable became a video store staple and is now reissued on Blu-ray for current audiences.

From the Archives