Saturday, May 5, 2012

Gary Hill: glossodelic attractors*

Gary Hill - The Psychedelic Gedankenexperiment (2011) (left) and Withershins (1995) (right)Gary Hill – Withershins (1995)
In the exhibition Gary Hill: glossodelic attractors* at the Henry Art Gallery you steps into Hill’s world of intermedia art that uses video, sound, performance and installation. His works in this exhibition span 1978 - 2011. The title’s asterisk clarifies the phrase “glossodelic attractor” as meaning that the works will initiate you into dynamical/lingual events (attractor), reorienting your mind (psychedelic) by changing what your concept of what language is (think glossolalia). The two major works anchoring the exhibition are Withershins (1995), an interactive maze, and Psychedelic Gedankenexperiment (2011), which deals with the subject of the psychoactive agent lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).

In Withershins there are two entrances to the maze; one entrance controls a female voice and the other a male voice. As you walk through the maze, the chosen path determines the meaning and ordering of audio and video. On a nearby wall is a paper map with sticky notes that gives details of the phrases that are synchronized with locations in maze. One of us walked the maze and the other traced the map - Travelmarx verified!

With Psychedelic Gedankenexperiment it took us some time to figure out what was going on: Hill is speaking backward in a video that is played backward, thus rendering his words intelligible (but warped a bit) and his motions curious. On adjacent walls are what looks like gobbledygook at first, but really is the text he is speaking in the video, written out backwards and phonetically. One video (3D) is the video performance played reversed and another video is the video performance played forward. It’s an eerie installation that hooks you and keeps you sitting there (an attractor) watching, kind of like you just dropped LSD. 

Gary Hill: glossodelic attrators Exhibition ChecklistGary Hill: glossodelic attrators Exhibition Checklist 1Gary Hill: glossodelic attrators Exhibition Checklist 2

Gary Hill – Mesh (1978 – 1979). Travelmarx Caught in the Mesh.

Gary Hill – Up Against Down (2008)

Gary Hill - Beauty is in the Eye (2011)Gary Hill - Beauty is in the Eye (2011)

Gary Hill – Withershins – Map (1995)Gary Hill – Withershins – Map (1995)

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