Playing the Spiral Jetty

Juan Carlos Castro and Daniel T. Barney

In this exposition we describe and theorize the evolution of an artistic enquiry entitled Playing the Spiral Jetty. This is accomplished in four parts. In part one we present our understanding of play as research methodology. Then, in part two we narrate and contextualize our encounter of the exhibition Contemporary Masters, an installation of an 18-hole, artist-designed, miniature golf course. In part three we elaborate our improvisations and conceptualizations of Playing the Spiral Jetty. Finally, in part four, we conclude with a theorization of play enacted in our performance. Play, as action and reaction, becomes a non-deterministic tactic or strategy for rethinking and redirecting understandings of and engagements with art. As a research enquiry, play is integrally linked to art making and as such, a way of knowing. The medial space in which play and subsequently art occupy create opportunities for novel ontological understandings.