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Interview with Paul Cummings

- I was in such a state of conflict that later, see, I could have gone on making these pieces. Like I said, I still have about twenty to make out of drawings of that period. But it was dangerous to get wilder, you know, to bring in three tons of dirt into a gallery or go out in the land. These were things that were so out of control that actually even at this point almost no gallery can manage the new problems that I'm bringing to the situation.

- When did those things start?

- The earth stuff? I would say it started in '67 because, having learned how to work with metal in '65, '66, '67, I knew what I could do. I could go on making these things which were very successful using steel and aluminum. But starting in '67, I came to a crisis with New York. My real thoughts were of going to the Salt Mines in Canada or to the North Pole and the South Pole; the idea of going to the Sahara Desert; the notion of experiencing space, even similar to what I imagine to be in the West. It actually had to do with the true crisis: my realization of the crises of the cities in '67 which was just about a couple years before everybody else realized that it was impossible and...

- And yet everybody remains.

- Yes, but I would say that's when I started making these conceptual pieces, like the three continent project: the idea of the mile-long line in the Sahara, the mile-long line in India, the mile square in the United States. That was done in '67, in the winter of '67.

- The idea of that.

- Yes, the drawings and the writings to do this piece. In other words, to travel, to not do the sculpture in New York but to do it directly on the land and to do it in remote places, remote deserts.

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