Gary Hill

Mediations, 1986

“The beginning of a remake of an earlier work [Soundings, 1979] in which I wanted to extend the reflexivity of each text in relation to the interaction between different physical substances—in this case, sand—and the speaker cone. A loudspeaker fills the screen and I begin to speak, referring to the speaker itself. This is followed by more declarations of what I am doing, ‘…a hand enters the picture….’ A hand filled with sand enters the picture and slowly releases it into the loudspeaker’s cone. Every nuance of speech vibrates the speaker’s cone (or membrane), bouncing the grains of sand into the air. The more I speak about what is happening, the more it changes—or feeds back into—the movement and patterns of the sand. At times the grain of the voice seemingly merges with what is experienced as ‘sand.’ The hand allows more and more sand to trickle onto the loudspeaker until the cone is no longer visible. The timbre of the voice crackles and is radically muffled. When the speaker is completely buried, the voice sounds distant but remarkably clear.” – Gary Hill

Blind Spot, 2003

A short encounter between the artist and a man on a North African street is slowed down, forcing the viewer into an intimate relationship with the subject and the shifting emotion seen in his face.


Inasmuch As It Is Always Already Taking Place, 1990

The components of the body displayed on sixteen monitors in this video installation are without any apparent distinction. They belong, however, to the artist. The arrangement of images on the monitors, which are of various sizes and stripped of their casings, does not follow the organization of the human body. Representations of Hill’s ear and foot lie side by side; tucked modestly behind them is an image of his groin. Within this unassuming configuration, each raster invites meditation. For example, on one screen a thumb plays with the corner of a book page. By concentrating the viewer’s attention on such a rudimentary activity, Hill causes the movement to take on the significance of a much larger event. The ceaselessness of the activity is an illusion in that each component exists only as a seamless loop lasting five to thirty seconds.

Long, nervelike black wires attached to each monitor are bundled together like spinal cords. They snake along a shelf and disappear from view at the back of a recess. This electrical network emphasizes the presentation of body parts as extremities without a unifying torso. The hidden core to which the components of the body are attached serves as a metaphor for a human being’s invisible, existential center: the soul. Reinforcing the living quality of the installation is its textured composition of ambient sound. https://www.moma.org

Martha Rosler: “Semiotics of the Kitchen” (1975)

Semiotics of the Kitchen adopts the form of a parodic cooking demonstration in which, Rosler states, “An anti-Julia Child replaces the domesticated ‘meaning’ of tools with a lexicon of rage and frustration.” In this performance-based work, a static camera is focused on a woman in a kitchen. On a counter before her are a variety of utensils, each of which she picks up, names and proceeds to demonstrate, but with gestures that depart from the normal uses of the tool. In an ironic grammatology of sound and gesture, the woman and her implements enter and transgress the familiar system of everyday kitchen meanings — the securely understood signs of domestic industry and food production erupt into anger and violence. In this alphabet of kitchen implements, states Rosler, “when the woman speaks, she names her own oppression.”

Electronic Arts Intermix
http://www.eai.org

Hollis Frampton • (nostalgia), 1971

“In (nostalgia), Frampton is clearly working with the experience of cinematic temporality. The major structural strategy is a disjunction between sound and image. We see a series of still photographs, most of them taken by Frampton, slowly burning one at a time on a hotplate. On the soundtrack, we hear Frampton’s comments and reminiscences about the photographs. As we watch each photograph burn, we hear the reminiscence pertaining to the following photograph. The sound and image are on two different time schedules. At any moment, we are listening to a commentary about a photograph that we shall be seeing in the future and looking at a photograph that we have just heard about. We are pulled between anticipation and memory. The nature of the commentary reinforces the complexity; it arouses our sense of anticipation by referring to the future; it also reminisces about the past, about the time and conditions under which the photographs were made. The double time sense results in a complex, rich experience.” – Bill Simon