Co.Design

A 340-Ton Boulder Makes A 105-Mile Journey To Los Angeles

"Levitated Mass" made its way through the city streets to its home at the museum.

If you follow the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Twitter, your timeline in mid-March was positively chockablock with enthusiastic 140-character sightings of a really big rock traveling on the back of a really big vehicle through the city’s streets. But what the heck was this #levitatedmass? Levitated Mass is an oversized, outdoor sculpture by artist Michael Heiser—a monolith resting atop a 456-foot-long, 15-foot-wide, concrete-lined channel dug into the ground. The 340-ton boulder’s epic 105-mile journey from the Pyrite-Hubbs Quarry in Riverside County to LACMA took 11 evenings but represents the realization of a project 43 years in the making.

Heiser conceived the idea in 1969, but the logistics of maneuvering materials of such a large scale proved too difficult during the original attempt to construct it that year. In a way, the subsequent four-decade delay seems fortuitous—the rock’s complex and incredibly conspicuous trip seems tailor-made for modern times, a bit of public performance art by an inanimate object, super conducive to social media sharing and YouTube clips.

As it stands now, visitors are encouraged to walk the path directly underneath the crag, experiencing the view from every angle but above. And should you have the opportunity to see it in person, it seems like a no-brainer to take a photo where you make like you’re Indiana Jones in the opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

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  • Guest

    I'm proud to say that I work for the engineering consultancy, Buro Happold, that were invloved in getting this project off the ground.