Orit Haj

Year: 2012

Artist Team: Didier Hess

Location: Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park Interpretive Center, Agua Dulce, CA

Art Budget: $52,000

Materials: Rammed earth, stainless steel rod, concrete and bronze

Dimensions: 7’1”w x 22’10” l x 4’ h

Client: Los Angeles County Arts Commission

Architect: Gruen Associates

Description: Orít Haj are indigenous words from the Tataviam language which translate to river and mountain. Much the way the Tataviam culture and its language have dissolved into time leaving behind inspiring artifacts and legends in people’s memories, so too this artwork will transform and dissolve with time.

In an effort to minimize the construction waste the artists utilized dirt excavated from the construction site to build the rammed earth sculpture. Community members helped build the soil layers of this slow release time capsule, embedding personal artifacts within it as they labored. These artifacts will reveal themselves over time as the rammed earth slowly erodes. Hidden deeply within the form is a bronze sculpture designed by the artists for a generation to discover far in the future.

Evoking the dramatic formations of Vasquez Rocks, the sculpture invites the human hand to touch it and visitors to climb on it, gradually transforming the earthen surface. As people return to the Vasquez Rocks at various points in their lives, the sculpture, like the rocks, will be changing – contours and the artifacts they contain gradually being altered in response to both human and natural forces.

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